Call#: University Museum Library MUSEUM HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: Annenberg Library Reference Ann Ref HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: Van Pelt Library HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: University Museum Library MUSEUM HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: Annenberg Library Reference Ann Ref HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: Van Pelt Library HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: University Museum Library MUSEUM HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: Annenberg Library Reference Ann Ref HC79.I55 C373 2000
Call#: Van Pelt Library HC79.I55 C373 2000
Keynote speaker Dan Scott, Systems Librarian from Laurentian University, talks about implementing the open source Evergreen ILS. Library Journal 2009 Mover and Shaker Karen Combs discusses using Drupal for her library's intranet, and LYRASIS Board Chair Joe Lucia, University Librarian at Villanova University, shares his experience with the development of the VuFind open source discovery layer for library catalogs.
"The Kuali Foundation is a non-profit organization responsible for sustaining and evolving administrative software that meets the needs of all Carnegie Class institutions. Its members are colleges, universities, commercial firms and interested organizations that share a common vision of open, modular, and distributed systems for their software requirements. The goal of Kuali is to bring the proven functionality of legacy applications to the ease and universality of online services."
This is the website to the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID). It contains a multiude of information regarding GAID activities, ICT development projects, and publications regarding relevant ICT and development issues. There are various articles on the use of Open Source Software in development projects, which I will use as examples in this paper.
The GAID is an organization launched by the United Nations in 2006 to address the use of ICT in acheieving the Millenium Development Goals, particularly for reducing poverty in the developing world. It formed from the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), during which a need for a global ICT and development policy forum was established. The GAID serves to facilitate collaborative development projects between the private and public sectors, non-governmental organizations and civil society groups.
As stated on the website, the Objectives of the GAID are as follows:
"The Alliance will seek to contribute to:
(1) Mainstreaming of the global ICT agenda into the broader United Nations development agenda
(2) Bringing together key organizations involved in ICT for development (ICT4D) to enhance their collaboration and effectiveness for achieving the internationally agreed development goals
(3) Raising awareness of policy makers on ICT4D policy issues;
(4) Facilitating identification of technological solutions for specific development goals and pertinent partnerships
(5) Creating an enabling environment and innovative business models for pro-poor investment and growth and for empowering people living in poverty
(6) Acting as a "think-tank" on ICT4D-related issues and as an advisory group to the Secretary-General."
Inveneo 2008, Inveneo, San Francisco, CA, viewed 23 July 2009, .
Inveneo is a California-based Non-Profit working to bridge the Global Digital Divide (GDD) in Africa. This website has some concrete examples of ICT development projects that have been completed in Africa. It also has various links to information about the digital divide and actual technological information about Inveneo's products and processes. This website can inform various parts of my paper including: a general discussion of the GDD, specific tactics that have been used in the developing world, and specifically the use of Open Source Software. Inveneo has designed computing and networking systems built upon Open Source Software. This is a specific example of how OSS can be used effectively for development purposes. The social mission of Inveneo is "to get the tools of information communications technology (ICT), such as computers, telephony, and Internet access to those who need it most — people and organizations in rural and highly underserved communities of the developing world." Inveneo’s approach is to work with local groups to train individuals to use ICT to improve lives within communities. Inveneo’s clients include other NGOs, local governments and local private enterprises. The computing and communications systems developed by Iveneo are low power, wireless and uses open-source software to reduce licensing costs. Their work began in Uganda in 2005 and now they have 25 projects in seven African nations. Inveneo’s goal is to match relevant technology to local organizations that provide education, healthcare, economic development, microfinance and relief services. The products and solutions offered by Inveneo include the Inveneo Computing Station, the Inveneo Communication Station, the Inveneo Hub Server and the Inveneo Desktop Linux. All of these systems require ultra-low power and are designed to perform in conditions of high dust and humidity, and these systems are compatible with Open Source Software programs. Inveneo systems are designed for beginner level users and are equipped with multi-lingual word processing capabilities. Inveneo also provides on-going training and support for its clients.
Inveneo is a California-based Non-Profit working to bridge the Global Digital Divide (GDD) in Africa. This website has some concrete examples of ICT development projects that have been completed in Africa. It also has various links to information about the digital divide and actual technological information about Inveneo's products and processes. This website can inform various parts of my paper including: a general discussion of the GDD, specific tactics that have been used in the developing world, and specifically the use of Open Source Software. Inveneo has designed computing and networking systems built upon Open Source Software. This is a specific example of how OSS can be used effectively for development purposes.
The social mission of Inveneo is "to get the tools of information communications technology (ICT), such as computers, telephony, and Internet access to those who need it most — people and organizations in rural and highly underserved communities of the developing world." Inveneo’s approach is to work with local groups to train individuals to use ICT to improve lives within communities. Inveneo’s clients include other NGOs, local governments and local private enterprises. The computing and communications systems developed by Iveneo are low power, wireless and uses open-source software to reduce licensing costs. Their work began in Uganda in 2005 and now they have 25 projects in seven African nations. Inveneo’s goal is to match relevant technology to local organizations that provide education, healthcare, economic development, microfinance and relief services. The products and solutions offered by Inveneo include the Inveneo Computing Station, the Inveneo Communication Station, the Inveneo Hub Server and the Inveneo Desktop Linux. All of these systems require ultra-low power and are designed to perform in conditions of high dust and humidity, and these systems are compatible with Open Source Software programs. Inveneo systems are designed for beginner level users and are equipped with multi-lingual word processing capabilities. Inveneo also provides on-going training and support for its clients.
Call#: Van Pelt Library HD30.2 .F685 2007
The GAID is an initiative launched by the UN in 2006 to address the use of ICT in achieving the MDGs. This book outlines the purpose, goals, and operations of the GAID. It is organized into three parts: 1) principles and structure of the GAID; 2) summary and outcomes from the organization's first meeting; and 3) the business plan of the GAID. It is published by the UN/GAID so it is somewhat of a manifesto rather than a critique or analysis of the organization's operations. It will give a concise view of the GAID stated goals and objectives and how the organization plans to promote the Millenium Development Goals through the effective use and proliferation of ICT.
The GAID originated as a result of the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). During this summit, representatives from the UN, civil society groups, and non-governemental organizations (NGO) determined a need for a global open forum within which ICT policy dialogue could take place. It is from this need that the GAID was concieved and launched in 2006. In pursuit of this goal the GAID "will contribute to transforming the spirit and vision of the WSIS into action and promote the use of ICT for the acheivement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millenium Development Goals (pp. 2)." The organization acts a facilitator and a spring board for colaborative partnerships aimed at tackling development issues using ICT. This is the main focus of my research and thus this book will be helpful in understanding the vision and operations of this organization.
Call#: Engineering Library ENGR QA76.754 .O63 1999
In the chapter entitled "The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement," Richard Stallman outlines the evolution of the free operating system and free software ideology. While working for MIT in the early 1970's he was part of a software-sharing community, in which engineers would share, improve, study and redistribute software programs free of charge without any formal licensing agreements. The author argues that this type of communal culture is natural and preferable to the current age of proprietary software development. He discusses his many career moves which focused on developing a free operating system, the GNU, and eventually the Linux system n 1991. During this span of time, Stallman challenged the practice of copyrighting software by creating the Free Software Foundation (FSF) as well as the General Public License (GPL). He continues to pursue the goal of promoting free software and challenging the copyright mentality that has become so common in US society.
In regards to my paper, this reading provides a solid background of the free software ideology and also brings to light some of the economic, cultural and social barriers that may be influencing the global digital divide. Namely, the copyright laws that protect proprietary software programs serve to promote the interests of large corporations and profit-driven software developers rather than individual users. Stallman notes that open source software is not necessarily "anti-business," but it offers an alternate business model that promotes freedom and cooperation. He outlines four freedoms that are violated by the proliferation of proprietary software. Users are prohibited from using ICT as they wish, from modifying and distributing their software, and from sharing their software with others. Extrapolating this theory to the global level, it is clear that large corporate interests may inhibit the spread of proprietary software and other ICT tools to areas that could benefit greatly from their use, but are unable to pay the price. This is directly relevant to both my discussion of the global digital divide and the role of open source software in addressing it.
tagged ict internet_policy open_source by cdoughe ...on 24-JUL-09
Call#: Van Pelt Library HM851 .R6795 2009
Call#: Annenberg Library Reference Ann Ref HM851 .R6795 2009
Call#: Van Pelt Library HM851 .R6795 2009
Call#: Annenberg Library Reference Ann Ref HM851 .R6795 2009
This is a very extensive text that covers a wide range of internet policy issues. I will focus on two chapters specifically for this paper: Chapter 26 "Globalizing the logic of openess: open source software and the global governance of intellectual property" and Chapter 30 "Internet diffusion and the digital divide: the role of policy making and political institutions."
Chapter 26 will inform my discussion of the use of and debate surrounding open source software. The author argues that the global economy dictates the dissemination of information and skills necessary to complete in the era of globalization. Thus corporate powers such as Microsoft, and national powers such as the US and Western Europe are dominating the spread of information and communication technologies to the disadvantage of developing nations. Liscensing costs and copyright laws serve to protect the interests of wealthy elites and international finanical organizations, while those without access to relevant knowledge and skills fall farther behind. It is argued here that open source software is a kew way, possibly the key way, to counteract these forces of globalization that contribute to the global digital divide. Specifically the use of free and open source software in Africa is discussed as is the support for open source software offered by the United Nations and many non-governmental organizations. This will be a key text for my analysis of the use of open source software.
Chapter 30 focuses on issues surrounding the digital divide and policies that impact it. It focuses on four countries as case studies: Brazil, Estonia, Singapore and the US. The aim of this chapter is to discuss what role political policy and institutions may have in addressing the digital divide. The conclusion is that policy and leadership in a society can in fact impact the diffusion of ICT. Additionally, as I have seen in my other sources, civil society groups and non-governmental organizations are also key players in addressing issues of ICT disparity.
Roth, Daniel. "Google's Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web." Wired. June 2008 Issue. Conde Nast Publications. New York, NY.
This feature article, printed in Wired a few months before the release of Tmobile's G1 - the first phone to run on Google's Android operating system, provides a comprehensive history of the development of Android and a summary of what's at stake and what Google hopes to accomplish with the OS. The article begins by describing the first meeting between Android founder Andy Rubin and Google cofounder Larry Page in 2005. Rubin, who had previously invented the Sidekick smartphone, had only hoped to acquire Page's moral support - even just an email saying Android was a good idea - since Page's seal of approval could help Rubin get more funding for his start-up. Yet, by the end of the meeting - and much to Rubin's surprise - Page decided he wanted to buy Android and make it a Google product.
Since that meeting, Android has gone on to gain the support of a number of major mobile industry players - including Tmobile, Sprint Nextel, Motorola and HTC - who have all named themselves part of the Open Handset Alliance and Google managed to stir up considerable buzz with its developer challenge - a contest with a prize of $10 million to anyone who could develop the best Android application. But, as the article points out, making Android work has not come without its challenges, and remains to be seen if the OS will gain the popularity that Google wants. For instance, mobile phone companies are wary of the fact that, by creating a perfect and complete mobile web surfing experience, Android could make it harder for companies to differentiate from each other. Networks would become "dumb pipes" that would merely deliver data and not play a part in building individualized mobile internet capabilities, thus making the choice between networks a matter of which one has the most towers. For this reason, Google still lacks the support of the two biggest mobile carriers: Verizon and AT&T, who together control 54% of the US market. As the article points out, Android needs their support to succeed.
The article does an excellent job of summarizing Google's strategic goals with Android as well as the potential shortcomings of the OS. Reading this article almost a year after its initial publication (and almost 6 months after the release of the G1) makes it clear just how apt it was in pinpointing the challenges to Android's market success. The article mentions how Google has a tendency to release its applications as sort of beta models, with the hopes that they can be developed and improved down the line for future success. The problem is that Google in a way took the same approach with Android, which made it a much more difficult sell based upon first impressions. Considering the sleek presentation of Apple's iPhone, the "unfinished" look and feel of Android has likely worked against the success of the OS. While success may come down the line as developers become more adept and creative with the Android code, Google's laissez faire attitude has likely slowed widespread adoption of the OS.
Gardiner, Bryan. "Google's Latest Efforts Test the Open Waters." Wired.com. November 9, 2007.
This article discusses Google's forrays into arena of open source technology and places them within the context of past open source endeavors by other companies. The most revelatory aspect of this article is the emphasis on the fact that open source technologies are not unfamiliar territory for media companies. In fact, the article describes Google's strategy with Android as a "classic move," that is, a big company taking on a collaborative project in a market where it has little presence. While, in the short term, it may seem Google has little to gain by partnering with Android, there could be huge gains in the long term. The best case scenario for Google would be dominance in the mobile market, which is currently up for grabs.
Although Google hasn't won over Verizon or AT&T, and it has some stiff competition from companies like Microsoft over domination of the mobile market, the article notes that networks would benefit from partnering with Google, since Google is known to drive data usage rates, which could in turn lead to more money for networks. Ultimately, the success or failure of Android will not be evident in the short run, since domination of the mobile market is likely to be a long process. However, even if Android does ultimately fail, it will still likely cause mobile web technology to evolve, and any impovement to mobile internet surfing is a boon for Google, meaning Google's investment in Android is essentially a win-win situation for the company.
Lerner, Josh and Jean Triole. "Some Simple Economics of Open Source." The Journal of Industrial Economics. Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jun., 2002), pp. 197-234. Blackwell Publishing.
This article from The Journal of Industrial Economics surveys some of the basic economics of the open source software model. The article begins by noting how open source practices have in fact existed in the realm of software development for several decades, but that the practice of open source software development has grown more concretized and widespread due to the rise of the Internet (to demonstrate this, the article provides a brief history of software development from the 70s to present day). The article then goes on to examine several case studies involving specific products of open source software development, specifically Apache, Linux, Perl and Sendmail.
Perhaps one of the more unique aspects of the article is the close examination of the motivation for developers to work with open source rather than closed source software. The authors identify several types of incentives that they hypothesize lure developers to the open source model. Such incentives include career concern incentive and the ego gratification incentive. Both of these incentives are categorized in economic terms as what's called a signalling incentive. The authors list several conditions under which signalling incentives are strengthened, and all of these conditions appear to be present within the open source model. For example, the ego gratification incentive is in part fulfilled by peer recognition. The open source model strengthens this incentive because the development process is transparent, meaning all changes to source codes are tracked and tied to specific developers, thus allowing for a high level of peer recognition.
While this article may ultimately pose more questions than it answers, it marks a necessary step towards closer examination of the open source model. By examining the model from an economic perspective, the article is helping to systematize and deconstruct the motivations and human behaviors that govern the ways in which open source development operates.
Roth, Daniel. "Open Source Software Made Developers Cool. Now It Can Make Them Rich." Wired. March 2008. Conde Nast Publications.
This article from Wired highlights how open source software can be commercially viable, even though the development of it isn't based directly on monetary compensation. As the article states, 30 open source sotware companies were bought for more than $1 billion in 2007, which is double the number of sales from 2005. One reason for this commercial interest in open source software is that such software has proven particularly well-developed in the past. Linux, for instance, is a more stable operating system than Windows, and Mozilla Firefox is a highly popular open source web browser.
The article also points out the main ways open source software manages to make money: "The money comes from selling add-ons, service contracts, and hardware to go with the software." The examples presented in this article show how open source software can be a commercially viable business endeavor - a fact that goes against the original free software movement from which open source software is derived. Such evidence supports Google's strategic interest in developing its own open source software for the mobile market with Android and also shows how open source software can prove successful in seemingly incompatible environments (for example, the article describes how open source software has recently been used to set up trading platforms for hedge funds, which are "notoriously insistent on proprietary systems).
tagged internet ipc open_source by philipjm ...on 10-APR-09
Krazit, Tom. "Google restores tethering app for Android users outside U.S." CNET.com. April 2, 2009.
This article from technology web site CNET presents a news story about Google's pulling an application from its app market due to a violation of Tmobiles terms of service. The app, which was a tethering app - an app that can be used by Mac and PC users to gain access to the internet through their phones, was banned by Tmobile and was subsequently removed from all app markets by Google. The problem was that the terms of service violation only applied within the United States and with phones that were locked. Google quickly remedied its universal takedown by putting the app back up on app markets outside the U.S. and by restoring access for unlocked phones.
The news story is not so much notable for the tethering app in particular, but rather because it presents an instance in which Google's open access software comes into direct conflict with the network operator on which it runs. The article notes how "It appears Google's commitment to making Android a completely open operating system will be tested by the reality of how wireless carriers have traditionally controlled the applications that run on their network." This is an important point because it highlights an inherent contradiction in the ways open source software and mobile network operators function. This contradiction will likely prove to be one of Google's primary challenges in establishing Android as a widely used operating system in the mobile market.
"What is Android?." Android.com. Retrieved on April 7 from http://www.android.com/about/.
This introduction to Android, as presented by Google on the Android web site, provides a brief explanation of what Android is, with an emphasis on the capabilities and potential for innovation that the operating system provides. The introduction is written in relatively simple, non technical language, and is broken down into four sections: one describing how Android is "open," another describing the equal status among applications, another describing the breakdown of barriers between applications, and a final one describing the fast and easy development of applications.
This introduction does a good job of breaking down some of the basic capabilities of Android and it gives the reader an idea of the core philosophy behind Android. The language is mostly in layman's terms, suggesting the intro is written for a general audience. The page is notable for its lack of Google branding. Instead, the page describes Android as being developed by the Open Handset Alliance (the consortium of Android supporters gathered by Google). Although Google has been the primary player in developing Android, the decision to present Android as a product of an alliance seems to be in line with Google's attempts to market Android as a non-proprietary piece of software.
Von Hippel, Eric and George von Krogh. "Open Source Software and the 'Private-Collective' Innovation Model: Issues for Organization Science." Organization Science, Vol. 14, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 2003), pp. 209-223. Published by: INFORMS.
This overview of the open source approach in economics provides a brief history of the advent of open source software and ends with a discussion that uses the open source model to call into question traditional economic models for compensation. The article defines two basic economic models for innovation: the private investment model and the collective action model. The private investment model is based on the concept of an individual or private entity investing in an innovation and then owning the rights to that innovation. This model is beneficial in that it contains an inherent compensatory system for innovators - based on ownership of rights - that encourages further innovation. At the same time, this model limits public access to those innovations. On the other hand, the collective action model is based on the concept of public goods - goods which are freely used by all, and whose usage by any given person does not exclude or degrade usage by another person. In order for innovation to occur in this public realm, innovators must make their knowledge free for all to access. While this model is beneficial in that it does not place a limit on public use of goods, it is problematic in that it does not include a strong compensatory system for encouraging further innovation.
This article provides a useful re-examination of traditional economic models, which will be necessary considering the open source model will likely be an important presence in the future, at least within the realm of internet technologies. Though this particular paper does not present hard examples or definitive conclusions about what type of economic model applies to open source innovation, it does at least suggest that experts need to reconsider traditional models and perhaps leave room for a gray area between opposing models. With regards to open source, there may exist what the authors refer to as a Private-Collective model for innovation that, under the right conditions, allows for the benefits of both the private investment and the collective action models.
tagged open_source organization_science private-collective by philipjm ...on 10-APR-09
This hosted service represents a new generation metasearch service. It displays results quickly and simply, and gives the searcher unparalleled control over the search experience. These benefits are accomplished through features such as
* simultaneous searching of up to 100 databases almost instantly
* relevance ranking, sorting and merging of records across databases
* processing of returned hits at the rate of 2000 records per second
* faceted searching by resource, subject, author, date or any library-defined element
MasterKey's simplicity and power provide a metasearch experience unequaled by any other metasearch service."
With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Open Library Environment (OLE) Project will convene the academic library community in the design of an Open Library Management System built on Service Oriented Architecture. The project leaders are a multi-national group of libraries dedicated to thinking beyond the current model of an Integrated Library System and to designing a new system that is flexible, customizable and able to meet the changing and complex needs of modern, dynamic academic libraries. The end product will be a design document to inform open source library system development efforts, to guide future library system implementations, and to influence current Integrated Library System vendor products.
We hooked it up to the Internet Archive's book scanning project, so that you can read the full text of all the out-of-copyright books they've made available. And we hope to add a print-on-demand feature, so that you can get nice paper copies of these scanned books, as well as a scan-on-demand feature, so you can fund the scanning of that out-of-copyright book you've always loved.
But we can only do so much on our own. Hopefully we've done enough to make it clear that this project is for real—not simply another pie-in-the-sky idea—but we need your help to make it a reality. So we're opening up the demo we've built so far, opening up the source code, opening up the mailing lists, and hoping you'll join us in building Open Library. It sure is going to be a fun ride.
—Aaron Swartz and the Open Library team, 16 July 2007
"The open source development model promises freedom to its participants: the freedom to download, test, modify, and put into production software without paying licensing fees."
Zebra supports large databases (more than ten gigabytes of data, tens of millions of records). It supports incremental, safe database updates on live systems. You can access data stored in Zebra using a variety of Index Data tools (eg. YAZ and PHP/YAZ) as well as commercial and freeware Z39.50 clients and toolkits.
Zebra is free software, available under the GPL license. It may be used by anyone without charge. If you wish to incorporate Zebra into a commercial software distribution, please contact us about alternative licenses.
Geotools is used by a number of projects including Web Feature Servers, Web Map Servers, and desktop applications, as is described on this page. Some screenshots of Geotools in action are also available.
Programmers wishing to use GeoTools in their own applications can get more information from the Use page and the User Guide. Developers wishing to extend the GeoTools library can get started on the Develop page and the Developer Guide.
GeoTools releases can be found on the downloads page. The Geotools code base is maintained in a subversion repository.
GeoServer is an Open Source server that connects your information to the Geospatial Web.
With GeoServer you can publish and edit data using open standards. Your information is made available in a large variety of formats as maps/images or actual geospatial data. GeoServer's transactional capabilities offer robust support for shared editing. GeoServer's focus is ease of use and support for standards, in order to serve as 'glue' for the geospatial web, connecting from legacy databases to many diverse clients.
GeoServer supports WFS-T and WMS open protocols from the OGC to produce JPEG, PNG, SVG, KML/KMZ, GML, PDF, Shapefiles and more. More information on specific features of GeoServer can be found here, and some samples of GeoServer in action are in the gallery.
Open source. Open space. Open art. Open doors. Open questions. Open City?
Open Cities Toronto 2007 is a weekend-long web of conversation and celebration that asks: how do we collaboratively add more open to the urban landscape we share? What happens when people working on open source, public space, open content, mash up art, and open business work together? How do we make Toronto a magnet for people playing with the open meme?
You are invited to discuss, dance, debate, and download Toronto's potential to become an epicentre and an example of a community that thrives on openness. We've all chosen to live here for a reason - let's figure out how we can combine our talents to build a city-wide community of openness.
Open Source is a conversation, four times a week on the radio and any time you like on the blog. We designed the show to invert the traditional relationship between broadcast and the web: we aren’t a public radio show with a web community, we’re a web community that produces a daily hour of radio.
From the website:
From the website:
Sophie's raison d'être is to enable people to create robust, elegant rich-media, networked documents without recourse to programming. We have word processors, video, audio and photo editors but no viable options for assembling the parts into a complex whole except tools like Flash which are expensive, hard to use, and often create documents with closed proprietary file formats. Sophie promises to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of creative people.
Cartographers have long used flow maps to show the movement of objects from one location to another, such as the number of people in a migration, the amount of goods being traded, or the number of packets in a network. The advantage of flow maps is that they reduce visual clutter by merging edges. Most flow maps are drawn by hand and there are few computer algorithms available. We present a method for generating flow maps using hierarchical clustering given a set of nodes, positions, and flow data between the nodes. Our techniques are inspired by graph layout algorithms that minimize edge crossings and distort node positions while maintaining their relative position to one another. We demonstrate our technique by producing flow maps for network traffic, census data, and trade data.
From the website:
Funambol is open source mobile application server software that provides push email, address book and calendar (PIM) data synchronization, application provisioning, and device management for wireless devices and PCs, leveraging standard protocols. For users, this means BlackBerry-like capabilities on commodity handsets.
Funambol is also a software development platform for mobile applications. It provides client and server side Java APIs, and facilitates the development, deployment and management of any mobile project. Funambol is the de facto standard implementation of the Open Mobile Alliance Data Synchronization and Device Management protocols (OMA DS and DM, formerly known as SyncML).
Van der Linden spends quite a bit of time railing on the inferiority of prevailing proprietary software standards, but also notes that Linux has a long way to come, especially in the areas of software availability and integration. When asked about the biggest barrier, he states that it’s the fact that Linux is not already number one. While this is not a specific failing of the open source model, the fact that (at least on the desktop) open source came along fairly late in the game, and with substantially less marketing clout suggests that there are perhaps markets where Linux is not destined to succeed.
The first two examples of reverse engineering that the article gives are open source projects. The ability of open source developers to reverse engineer the competing instant messaging clients developed by internet companies like Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft has had a dual effect – firstly, the article points out, it has allowed innovation by letting third-party developers (open source or otherwise) to create hybrid programs that bridge the inherent gaps in these incompatible protocols. Additionally, the presence of quality open source messaging software has helped to further the legitimacy of open source platforms such as Linux.
The second example is that of Samba, an open source program that allows Microsoft Windows based file sharing services to be both hosted on or accessed by any number of platforms. Because of Samba, users of Apple’s Mac OS X or Linux can interoperate with Microsoft Windows networks. The article points out that this has (also) lent legitimacy to Linux as a platform and helped it to compete in a world of proprietary standards.
Because of the decentralized nature of the open source movement uses of technology that require strict licenses is necessarily limited as there is no governing body to obtain and regulate use of licenses. This is especially true with licenses that prohibit disclosure of the underlying technology, as does the license from the DVD Copy Control Association. As a result of this, the extremely aggressive legal tactics of the content-owning industry pose a potential threat to the ability to choose what computer software to use, although it is interesting to note that it’s not clear that they have actually posed any hindrance to the open source movement.
There is an established idea in the usability community that software developers do not make good usability designers. This proves problematic for the open source movement, since one of the central tenets is that the software is conceived and developed by individual software developers. There is neither outside perspective available to mandate the hiring of usability professionals, nor capital available to do so. Usability professionals, the paper states, are not prevalent in open source projects the way that developers are because there are fewer of them to begin with, and therefore fewer peers to recognize any individual contributions to usability – peer recognition being one of the most agreed upon incentives for open source development.
The paper outlines some of the other problems related to usability in open source, notably that usability design works best when done before any software development, anathema to the open source model of progressive improvement on rough development. Furthermore, many open source projects try to emulate commercial software, leaving little room for usability innovation. Finally, in a collaborative community with little central authority, it is logistically delicate to remove excessive functionality that may confound usability.
By way of introduction, the paper makes two points – first the obvious point that a complete abandonment of traditional property rights in favor of totally open licensing would have taken away the very thing that had made these companies successful in the first place – the proprietary differences between their software and their competitors. It points out as well that an initial hurdle for a potential alliance between corporation and open source is the latter’s lack of central management – with whom can a corporation negotiate without a central leader to definitively represent an open source project as large as, say, Linux?
The first case study is that of Apple, a company that faced increasing obsolescence of its core operating system (Mac OS) by the mid-1990s, and was unable to come up with a viable proprietary alternative. Apple’s strategy was to “embrace and enhance” existing open source technologies, and to this end it made headlines when it released the core of its new operating system, Mac OS X, as a fully open source project. It retained its competitive advantage, however, by releasing only material which was essentially already available, keeping proprietary the graphical interface which differentiated its product from competitors’ and other high-level components.
IBM embraced open source products in a similar way when the chose Apache, the open source web server, as the basis for their new line of server products. This adoption proved to be a boon for the Apache project, which received support from a major corporation. IBM’s adoption of Linux came later, but its portability (one of the foci of the open source movement) eventually allowed IBM to use Linux as the standard platform for a variety of products. In IBM’s commercial model, money isn’t made off the products themselves, but in the pairing of software with hardware, support, consulting, and other services.
Sun, although initially hesitant to embrace open source, eventually opened up several of its projects under restrictive licenses that allowed people to view and modify the source, but not to redistribute it for profit without paying royalties. In this way, Sun protected its property rights and proprietary advantage while reaping the benefits of community involvement with and contribution to its products.
Two important points can be drawn from these cases and from the article itself: firstly it is interesting to note that in the first two cases, where companies adopted previously existing products, they adopted products whose licenses allowed commercial derivative works. The license governing Linux and many other open source projects does not allow this; this is an important distinction. The second point is the contrast between Apple and Sun’s strategy – open parts vs. partly open. While Apple retains competitive advantage by opening only parts of their product (open parts), Sun retains their advantage by opening their products with important limitations that preserve that advantage (partly open).
Krishnamurthy, Sandeep, Cave or Community? An Empirical Examination of 100 Mature Open Source Projects, May 2002.
The value of this paper is represented in its byline: “An empirical examination of 100 mature open source projects.” The author used as his source one of the premier open source project management websites, home to tens of thousands of projects, and picked a sample that had reached the highest level – “mature.” As the paper notes, the projects sampled had been in existence for 18 months on average, and had released several versions of their product, therefore having the best chance of representing the community development possible within open source projects.
The paper’s most dramatic finding is that most mature open source projects are fairly small – the median number of developers in the sampled projects was four, with a lone developer being the most common case.
Other findings included that most projects did not generate very much discussion, in contrast to the portrait painted by the media of a bustling, communicative group of developers. The study found that products with more developers were viewed and downloaded more often, and also that products with more developers had smaller leadership bases.
Although this study is straightforward and not accompanied by a wealth of discussion, the findings speak fairly loudly toward discrediting a lot of the prevailing image of the open source project. Even the author’s tone in compiling this bibliography suggests that most projects are large networks of disparate talent, colluding to create products that are extensively peer-reviewed for quality. This study shows that to not necessarily be the case, although it is unclear what subjective level of success the surveyed projects had obtained – projects selected for other variables could yield different data, and the discussion in the study suggests that projects in other stages of life (earlier than “mature”) could carry different characteristics as well.
The paper draws an interesting comparison between the corporate sponsorship of the open source movement, which the literature suggest is related to scientific research both in its driving motivations (Bonaccorsi and Rossi, 2003) and its origins, and the employment of the scientific community by pharmaceutical companies. The benefits of both the volunteer open source and academic scientific communities are similar, and companies find success in leveraging these benefits by sponsoring those communities.
An essential point is made when the article points out that open source projects have been most effective in communities where the users are technically-minded, presumably because these users are more willing and able to compensate for the open source community’s lack of progress in the areas of user friendliness and documentation (Bonaccorsi and Rossi, 2003). The paper describes the history and structure of four specific successful open source projects; all of them products meant for system administrators and programmers, rather than end users. This and the paper’s characterization of the open source community as “elitist” seem to support my contention that a community of technically-minded developers creates products suitable for technically-minded users, rather than everyday end users.
The paper discusses at length the contrast between the open source model of leadership, in which there is no “formal authority” that must be obeyed, but only the “real authority” of respected peers who have made leading contributions that are congruent with the developer’s goals. The paper cites evidence that there is little mirroring in commercial software development operations of the open source principles of community visibility of individual contributors and the general desire to make the project accessible to all potential contributors.
Three commercial strategies embracing open source are outlined: the symbiotic relationship, in which companies provide components of an open source project that are either missing from or complimentary to the community’s development; the “code release” strategy, in which companies find it profitable to release internally-developed code as open source in order to stimulate other parts of their profit model; and the support model, in which companies provide products that assist the mass success of the open source model itself, rather than working within it.
In its examination of the first question (why do people work on open source projects?), this paper highlights a point essential to my thesis – that there is a substantial group of software users who are incapable of being software developers – i.e. that the “users as developers” model (von Hippel, 2001) is at best partially true. A subset of users who are either computer hobbyists or “hackers” are the ones doing the actual development of open source software. The article lists several potential motivations: a intellectual gratification similar to that found in scientific research, a passion for the art form of software development, a pleasure taken in an unrestricted creativity not found in today’s corporate world, and (as in Crowston, et al, 2003) visibility to potential employers.
This paper describes the genesis of an open source project as stemming from an “unfilled market” – an individual has a problem for which no commercial product exists, identifies others facing the same problem, and as progress is made in solving that problem, the community of people working to solve their common problem builds and is fostered by constant communication of progress. Leadership emerges naturally from this process – those most involved in the project and most willing/able to progress the project become natural leaders. Specific tasks are not delegated – the project relies on the willingness of its members to solve problems of their choosing as they arise. If this does not effectively solve the project’s problems, an impasse is created, and the project will fade.
This model relies on the assumption that all problems faced by a project will be interesting to and solvable by some member of that project. This paper points out that this is not always the case – certain “non-sexy” problems, including user-friendliness, documentation, and support, fall by the wayside. Their solution in the open source community has been brought by commercial ventures with a “hybrid” business model – that is, they rely on volunteer efforts for the product themselves, but then profit by providing the elements not provided by volunteers themselves. This establishes the essential symbiosis between open source projects and commercial ventures in which the benefits of the volunteer/community model are present, yet corporate sponsorship lends both security and profitable, requisite gap filling.
This paper is less clear in its answering of the third question (how can open source projects challenge established commercial standards?) although it introduces two important points. The first is that there exists “the tendency for that which is ahead to get further ahead, for that which loses advantage to lose further advantage.” The second point the paper introduces is that choice of a product is influenced less by total popularity of that product and more by popularity within a social network.
Crowston, Kevin et al. Defining Open Source Software Success,Twenty-Fourth International Conference on Information Systems, 2003.
This is a paper in the scholarly tradition that examines previous attempts to define what makes an open source software project successful, and then “reexamines” the culture of open source projects to suggest new measures. The article closes by analyzing measures of success suggested by a primary source from the open source community – the forums on a popular site dedicated to the movement.
The traditional measures of success listed are fairly predictable – most notably “quality” in the general sense. A number of measures from computer science literature three decades old are listed – among them understandability, completeness, testability, and efficiency. Proposed measures of user satisfaction in the open source community are dismissed as non-representative, since measurable feedback requires involvement in the projects themselves, which is not necessarily a complete sample of users not to mention not likely to encompass users with negative opinions. Amount of use is similarly difficult to measure due to the idiosyncrasies of open source distribution.
The paper’s own suggestions include measures much more specific to open source development: project output, level of activity on a project in a given timeframe, professional development as a result of contribution to projects, etc. While these measures certainly speak to contributors to open source projects, questions must be raised about the overarching goals of open source projects implied by these measures. If the goal is to solely to stimulate the developers involved, then these measures can be seen as appropriate, however this hobby-group mentality cannot be solely responsible for the fact that large parts of the global economy rely on open source. These measurements speak nothing to the need to create quality products that serve a real purpose, or the need to serve that purpose better than competitive commercial products.
What is telling is that in the article’s analysis of forum comments by those involved in open source projects reveals a similarly self-centered attitude. The top three measures of success found in this analysis were developer satisfaction, user involvement, and developer involvement, with user satisfaction, an important concern in the development of any product, ranking only fourth. It seems curious that open source has seen success as a model at all, given that the satisfaction of those creating the products is much more highly valued than the satisfaction of those actually using them. While other literature specifically points out that developer and user are supposed to be one and the same (von Hippel, 2001), this is only partially true in software development (Bonaccorsi and Rossi, 2003), and I argue that open source will enjoy only niche success if a developer-centric attitude prevails.
The article acknowledges the prevailing wisdom that user innovation communities “shouldn’t exist,” and that product development has traditionally been the dealing of manufacturers and commercial enterprises in general. These commercial enterprises benefit from the economies of scale that come from developing a product that can be sold to many users and protected from competition, rather than lone users developing products and obtaining marketplace protection for them.
However, the article continues, these communities do exist, and can be even more successful than competing commercial ventures. It outlines three conditions for the existence of successful user innovation communities: a sufficient incentive to innovate, an incentive to reveal any innovations made, and a competitive distribution of such innovations relative to commercial products.
The article’s most salient emphasis, however, was that on the sensitivity to specific user needs available in user-innovated products. While this was repeatedly cast as a positive point – that the users themselves naturally have better and more up-to-date information about their needs and that manufacturers with conflicting goals could create sub-optimal products, thereby costing the users an “agency cost” – this point has its negative aspects as well. This condition is only a positive one when communities are homogenous; that is, they all have the same needs. Given similar communities with slightly different needs, the tendency to create products that conform perfectly to those needs could create a fragmented marketplace of many similar products with essentially superficial differences. With this type of fragmentation, it could hinder the ability of any one product to gain enough momentum to continually fund or stimulate development. Specific to the software case, a fragmented market also decreases compatibility, an issue of paramount importance in today’s networked world.
Blizzard Entertainment sued a group of volunteer gamers who created free, noncommercial, open-source software to allow Blizzard game owners to play the games over the Internet. Claiming that the gamers reverse engineered Blizzard’s own Battle.net server software to make their own BnetD server software, Blizzard cited anti-circumvention violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Both Battle.net servers and BnetD servers were available for free online to enable online game play. However, BnetD was created as an alternative to Battle.net to fix some connection difficulties that some users encountered while using Battle.net.
Blizzard attempted to stop distribution of BnetD, alleging that the software has been used to permit play of pirated Blizzard games. However, the volunteer developers did not design BnetD for this purpose, nor were they are using BnetD for this purpose. The free software was a legitimate use and could not be bluntly labeled as a piracy device. Blizzard argued that the developers reverse engineered sections of the game, thus violating Blizzard’s End User License Agreement (EULA). The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represented the programmers and declared that BnetD was a legal free product which worked with the original product in order to benefit game owners. The court ruled in favor of Blizzard, ultimately stating that reverse engineering and emulating of Blizzard software in this case were illegal.
The consequences of the ruling were detrimental to game upgrades and user enhancements. If this decision set the precedent, user-developed programs that work with original products would be banned. Furthermore, consumer choice would be limited by the available products. Since users would only be authorized to use a certain company’s products with that same company’s accessories together, this would have a profound impact on software and game products. In a similar analogy, imagine if Brand A’s eraser had to be used in conjunction with Brand A’s pencil. What would happen if computer users were forced to run only Microsoft products with Microsoft Windows? What if gamers could only play certain games with specific designated programs and accessories? Inevitably, such precedent would drastically reduce competition in the marketplace in addition to loss of both innovation and user-generated creativity.
Howver, the opinion of the court written by Justice Brown finds that Pavlovich cannot be forced to stand trial in California for the publishing of DeCSS on his web site. Pavlovich is not a California resident, performs no business in California, and was not actively encouraging California residents to use his algorithm to harm Californinan businesses. Brown determined that he cannot be held responsible for any negative economic impacts on California businesses that his posting caused.
The outcome of this case is important when considering the Dmitry Skylarov situation. Skylarov was detained for months for breaking a law of a country which he was not a citizen of, nor was he present in at the time he allegedly violated the DMCA. Not too long after, the courts are ruling that the liability can be restricted by state lines.
Another interesting aspect to this case is the dissenting opinion by Justice Baxter, particularly his wording. He critizies Pavlovich's "network of 'open source' associates'" in their efforts "to undermine and defeat the very purposes of hte licensed CSS encryption." Baxter tries to connect open source and piracy, a misconception that many people have. This association hurts legitimate developers and their efforts.
Baxter's opinions also details the inherent incompatabilities with the open source movement and closed DRM. An open source project could never be licensed by the DVD-CCA because the stipulations would never allow certain parts of the code to be revealed. He also compilcates the decision by discussing the fact that the whole point of the the DMCA to restrict playback ability. Whatever their motivations were, they were making use of a technology that the DVD-CCA should have full control of and was developed through illegal means under US law. Baxter determines that, jurisdiction issues asside, the LiViD developers should be held responsible for their development with an illegal technology.
In interpreting this case, the court claimed that BNETD was in violation of several provisions and was not protected by the reverse engineering for interoperability exemption. BNETD did not check to see if the user had a valid CD Key before allowing them to connect to the server. The court interpreted this as circumvention, as BNETD allowed users to experience online multiplayer games with illegal copies of Blizzard software.
This case determines that plug-ins could be held responsible for their functionality when applied to pirated software. Had the plug-in been designed to bypass CD Key checks and then connect to Battle.net, the decision would make more sense. However, BNETD wrote the program to connect to their own servers, and just didn't happen to check to for a valid software copy. Holding plug-in writers accountable for license checking is a dangerous precedent. Open source developers won't want to write a plug-in if they can be sued for the misuse of their product in combination with pirated software. The right to author extensions to software and market them has been around for years before the DMCA and now has been compromised by the misuse of its provisions.
Current proprietary systems attempt “security through obscurity.” The algorithms are often weak and prone to cracking, and simply hopes that no one will figure out the keys. Opening the format has the benefits of criticism. Everyone will be allowed to debate the merits and the strengths of the systems, as well as offer suggested improvements, ensuring that the open DRM will be the strongest.
It also suggests that an open standard can expand the market for DRM. While the market was generated by media content providers, Sun envisions that the needs of businesses and health care will far outweigh the media companies. Securely protecting business documents and health records is a need that DRM will logically be extended too.
The modularity of the architecture allows for adaptability with future technologies and compatability across multiple formats. While this system has its skeptics in groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it has received some backhanded complements from scholars like Lawrence Lessig, stating that if you have to DRM, you want Sun's version.
Sun's DReaM architecture is a strong example of how opinion source development can be used to help copyright holders and consumers by encouraging technological development.
An account of an 1854 cholera outbreak on London's Broad Street [and] a magnificent combination of science thriller, cultural history, and celebration of cartography as a powerful tool to help us understand the dynamics of urban life.
Stallman advocates more direct, individual ownership versus corporate or “unseen ownership”. Society needs more information made directly available to citizens, and our insistence that the author is more important than the user is misguided and harmful. Voluntary cooperation is needed to create an online commons, a world of resources and tools both academic and creative, that we can take and grow from. These essays illustrate how the public domain is good for society, and the most important thing to citizens is freedom.
Another brainchild of Stallman’s, the GNU Public License or GPL, is directly responsible for the emergence of Creative Commons licensing online. It was a way to take back the copyright protections and control that had been increasingly handed over to large corporations. It stresses the importance of the public domain and its necessity for all creative individuals.
There has been a recent moral schism between Open Source/GNU and the Creative Commons world. Stallman believes that Creative Commons is starting to veer away from the original ideals of Open Source, and does not have enough legal ground or strict-enough rules to govern it. He believes Creative Commons allows for too much misuse and misinterpretation, and no longer wants his name referenced with it. Stallman disagrees with the options Creative Commons allows for strictly commercial uses, and the restriction on derivative works. These are valid concerns for someone whose name is still attached to Creative Commons history. But giving more control to copyright content owners, and allowing people to license their work as they wish means just that – there needs to be room for everyone’s interests and goals. It is better to have these varied options and create the desired public domain, than to not have it at all.
It's intent is to provide a library of high quality components that may be used in your tapestry application, as well as provide a core infrastructure for using ajax related logic in these and your own components and pages.
The MetaScholar Initiative is currently working on seven main projects: MetaArchive, AmericanSouth, MetaCombine, Music of Social Change, OCKHAM, a Study of User Quality Metrics, and the open access journal Southern Spaces. This Initiative is creating new models for sharing and organizing meta-information, tools for the preservation of at-risk digital objects, and services for scholars in focused research areas. It is also creating new tools for such sharing, including the Metadata Migrator application and the OCKHAM digital library services.