I think that as open source software (and open-source-like non-software
examples) relies on a community-based form, friendships (i.e. the social
network) and the geographical location (i.e. where the social networks
of the participants belong) have a very important dimension. Even while
participating in a world-wide online project, every participant has its
own social network and locality where he/she belongs, acts ad take
This is why the best examples of open-source-like non-software
organisations are the ones that try to exploit and improve the social
network and its geographical location. Thinkcycle tried to develop
open-source product for specific contexts and their problems; the RED's
Open Health tried to deliver new public services around the local social
Open source is not just "developing a code", but a more important
"building a community", as peer production would not exist in a
hierarchy but only in an horizontal network like a community.
Moreover, if these projects tend to build and improve communities and
their social network, we could start an open-source-like project in
order to get a new software or product or solution, and then we would
end with the positive side-effect of a stronger social network (that can
be the starting point for other future projects).
Therefore we could deploy open-source-like projects where we'd like to
rebuild the sense of community and its social network.
This is the direction where my research started, and I would like to go
on in this direction!
dominic smith ha scritto:
> Hi Sal,
> Yes I fully take on board your statement about making things happen with
> gifts rather than requests. In a similar way it could be said that
> classing people that contribute to the development of an open source
> project, be it software or something else such as the cube cola - open
> source cola project http://sparror.cubecinema.com/cube/cola/ as
> developers rather than a volunteers also has a significant effect upon
> Saul Albert raises a number of interesting points on the nature of gift
> economies in his paper "open source and collective art practice". He
> makes an interesting link between the idea of gifting and the reputation
> game that I suppose we inevitably play in order to have our work seen
> and valued, "With pressures of the day job (teaching part time in art
> schools for the lucky and successful) and financially motivated
> pressures from the gallery, a high quality of work is difficult to
> sustain. By high quality, I mean quality as assessed by the gift economy
> in which the artist functions. This relies on maintaining a novelty
> value for the media, satisfying critics, and impressing the professional
> art public".
> From a personal perspective I am more excited to use an open tool. In
> terms of software Photoshop is a very professional and slick package. I
> can work very fast with it, however I do feel that from the moment I run
> this piece of software I am locked into the use of a pre existing set of
> metaphors, the lasso, pen and mask etc. They have all had teams of
> people sitting around big tables and discussing their relative merits.
> But as an artist I wish to have more control and initiate my own
> projects with my own set of more appropriate metaphors, this is one of
> the obvious benefits of open source. If I want to develop my own set of
> tools, or even just contribute to an already existing piece of software
> then the framework is in place to do so and possibly collaborate with
> like minded individuals. This in turn could relate back to the idea of
> gifting. By contributing to the development of an already existing
> project you are also increasing your reputation and value (if your
> contributions are accepted as meaningful and worthwhile). With an
> increased reputation comes increased opportunities (teaching, support,
> commissions etc).
> I do have a question for members of this discussion on this matter of
> contributing to software development. Do you feel that successful
> collaboration on an open project is as simple as members contributing
> useful code to a project or are there other factors such as friendships
> and geographical location that have an impact?
> Albert, Saul (1999) "Open Source and Collaborative Art Practice"
> On 2 Apr 2008, at 16:51, Sal Randolph wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> What an intriguing group we have for this discussion!
>> I come at open source from a slightly different perspective. I'm an
>> artist exploring the territory of 'gift' and 'free' because of the
>> complex mix of ideas, feelings, politics, and situations I find
>> there. Although I do of course use open source software, I mostly
>> look at the free and open source software movements as both
>> inspiration and a laboratory. I've found as a practical matter that
>> gifts anchor and catalyze participation - if you want to make
>> something happen, it's much easier to start with a gift than a
>> request. I'd be really interested to have a conversation about how
>> people here experience both giving and receiving in the context of
>> open source (and for that matter, in the context of art). For
>> instance, are you more excited to use a tool that's free? Or more
>> wary? Does it feel like a gift? Does it create an obligation?
>> Looking forward to all this,
>> On Apr 2, 2008, at 8:52 AM, Janet Hawtin wrote:
>>> Started using Linux after living for 2 years in London and
>>> participating in GLLUG and Lonix.
>>> Have been helping in community groups including ITShare computer
>>> recycling and using tools like Inkscape for making designs.
>>> We have had a few Barcamp kinds of events in Adelaide which include
>>> some Linux work
>>> and also some hardware rewangling.
>>> Cheers Janet
>> : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
>> Sal Randolph
>> salrandolph [at] gmail [dot] com
Via Giacomo Matteotti 14, 20090 Assago (MI), Italy
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