open thread

Open thread: How do you describe open source to the uninitiated?

It happens all the time. You're at a party, someone asks about your work, and yet again, you have about 45 seconds to describe one of the greatest innovations in human history.

There's the public utility metaphor. The shared infrastructure "like a bridge or a road" idea. Waterworks. Rural electric co-op's.The car with the hood welded shut. The Wikipedia analogy. The scholarly tradition. Libraries. The scientific method. Bucket brigades, quilting bees, and barn raisings. Seed banks and sustainable agriculture.

When we try to explain open source ideas to people » Read more


How do you explain the open source way?

This open thread is an opportunity for you to tell us how you explain what the open source way is, but without mentioning software or technology. » Read more


Open thread: What's the coolest project you've heard about lately?

One of the best things about putting together is finding out about all the interesting ways open source methods and technology are being applied to solving what have been intractable problems. 

From IntraHealth International we hear about a public health project with Hope Phones and FrontlineSMS:Medic to provide mobile phones to African health workers who offer important services to mothers and children. Equipped with FrontlineSMS, a free, open source large-scale text messaging platform, a ten-dollar mobile phone can make a big difference in the life of a healthcare worker and the people they care for. » Read more