It’s easy enough to say that you want the world to be OpenSource. But what does that translate into? What does it mean when you say that, how is it better than what we already have, and most critically how do we get there? I’m not going to try and tackle all of these issues in one post. I couldn’t. OpenSource is a fairly recent development, even in it’s field of origin, software development. Moving it into other fields/institutions and applying it to them requires a close look at just what OpenSource is, how it works, and what if any of it can be grafted on to or replace current models (of whatever you happen to be thinking of; OpenSource has the potential to be a universal standard.)
Rick is much more organized than I am, my thought process is muddled at best. So, these initial posts are going to seem to ramble, but that is only because you’re getting my raw thoughts on the matter. That, and this is new. Not just to me or to Rick, it’s new to everyone. Politicians have often flirted with things like it, the Obama campaign’s success was largely built on parts of it. Mostly though Politicians and others have been keen on harnessing people’s power without any regard to their actual thoughts on the matter. Crowds have been the source of muscle not mind. In the software world OpenSource started as a means for small teams (one man at times) with an excited audience to use that audience to better their product. Obama seems to be using the concept to push for more transparency in Government and greater citizen participation at the Federal level. The most obvious being Obama’s promise that he won’t sign any bill on his desk until soliciting comments on it, though this has yet to materialize and it doesn’t ask for citizens to improve the bills, it is a start. Just what it means to have an OpenSource government I can’t quite say yet, as we’ve never seen one, nor has a model for it been developed. But then that is what this site here is for!
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be looking at various fields, industries, and institutions and seeing how they would change and/or look if they were based on an OpenSource model. I plan to range widely from Local Government to the NFL. What would work and what wouldn’t and the potential pitfalls that must be avoided for the Open movement to go forth. I hope you stick around!
This is Jonathon Howard’s first post here. He currently works in the California State Government and his local city council (Davis, CA). Anyone else who is interested in contributing is welcome – OpenSource is the name of the game.