Life

Net neutrality in the 15th century

Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, in his SXSW talk offered the idea that while we think of net neutrality as a new problem, it is actually a very old problem that we've dealt with many times before.

While sharing and collaboration are the oldest of ideas, much of the modern innovation and successes that have resulted from them have depended on the wide availability of an open Internet. And the basis for that was set in place 400 years ago. » Read more

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Todd Park, CTO of Health and Human Services, on improving healthcare with open data

Todd Park, CTO of the US Department of Health and Human Services, joined an enthusiastic audience at SXSW to talk about the power of open data and innovation to improve health. His role is not to run technology for HHS, but he serves an an entrepreneur in resident to start "virtual startups" within HHS to improve the health of Americans.

"There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur--an innovator at the intersection of healthcare and IT," said Park. He gave two reasons: new incentives and information liberation, which combined he called the "rocket fuel for innovation." HHS doesn't expect to alone transform healthcare. Rather, they want to create an environment that helps markets and the public transform healthcare. » Read more

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Sharing information to improve your health

The movements behind the Health 2.0 conferences and open government have together helped create or open large amounts of data of many different types. The next step is to connect all of that data so that it's actually meaningful and useful for users. There's a chance now to build things that are faster and more targeted than ever before.

Indu Subaiya, co-founder of Health 2.0, moderated a panel on the issue at SXSW, which included people from various projects using open information to improve healthcare: » Read more

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Great minds don't think alike: Diversity in your collaboration

On opensource.com, we talk a lot about collaboration without talking about a key ingredient for getting the maximum benefit from it: diversity. Without diversity within a collaborative group, the result is a larger quantity of the same thinking rather than the sort of dynamic interaction that creates new ideas. Joe Gerstandt addressed this problem in his SXSW talk, Great Minds Do Not Think Alike." » Read more

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The new sharing economy

As we've covered in many posts, a lot of new businesses and projects are springing up around sharing in various ways. Car sharing services, Kiva, Kickstarter, coworking--the list goes on. Technology has fueled the opportunity for us to get out of our houses and back into communities with one another. Some of the people working on the "new sharing economy," as they described it, gathered at SXSW to talk about how this shift to sharing is changing the way we work and live together as a society. » Read more

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SXSW: It's all about sharing

SXSW has barely even begun, and two themes are clear. One is startups, which is well-covered. (BusinessWeek called it SXSW's fetish.) But the other is sharing. » Read more

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Open source procurement: Subscriptions

When you procure proprietary software, you buy a right-to-use license and then a support agreement. But when you buy open source, you already have the right-to-use from the OSI-approved free license, so you should compare the subscription cost with just the cost of a proprietary support agreement. Right?

Wrong! The open source subscription includes all the same elements as the combination of both purchases. In most cases, if you are receiving equivalent value, you should expect to pay similar prices. » Read more

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The pulse of the Drupal community after 10 years

Believe it or not, Drupal is turning 10 years old in 2011. Beyond providing a content management platform that powers millions of websites, Drupal has a thriving user community. And it's not just coders. There are web designers who work on themes and deployment, content providers, admins, and everyday people who use Drupal for their job, organizations, or self-interests.

The North America DrupalCon is taking place this week in Chicago. To help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Drupal project, I decided to take a pulse of the culture and community. I found 10 people at the conference and asked them to share their Drupal experiences.

Feel free to share your pulse on the Drupal community in the comments.

» Read more

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How to become an amazing contributor (to an open source project)

It's a busy morning here in New York City. My email inbox is full of pleasant surprises. The first is a patch for one of my open source projects. A second will appear this afternoon. A third should come late at night—or maybe tomorrow–from a new contributor.

Alongside my day job, I contribute and manage open source projects. The number of projects I work on has grown from a couple of small tools to well over a dozen in the last three years. Open source has become a great way to learn new technology, experiment with modern software development practices, and, of course, meet other like-minded engineers. I find that seeing great contributors send working and tested code provides a unique feeling of accomplishment, as powerful as having many satisfied users of my own applications or strong revenues posted by the employer that pays my bills. » Read more

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SXSWi: The open agenda

SXSW Interactive gets started this week, and there are a lot of sessions on the agenda with topics related to the open source way. Music collaboration, open government, Creative Commons... nearly every time slot has at least one session I want to tell opensource.com readers about. Below is my "open agenda" for the week with a quick summary based on the abstracts available. I know there are things I'm missing--feel free to leave comments with sessions you think should be on the list or places I should check out. » Read more

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