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Webcast recap: Clay Shirky on open source and the cognitive surplus

Webcast recap

Today Clay Shirky joined us for a webcast on how open source takes advantage of the "cognitive surplus"—the way we use our free time more constructively for a greater cause. » Read more

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Opening the field of neurobiological research

What does it take to find a cure for Alzheimer’s? Can we spare returning soldiers from post-traumatic stress disorder?

The moon shot is on collaboration and sharing. And just as in the moon race, the challenge is far too great for a single group to undertake it alone.
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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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This one goes out to the fence painters

I’m always looking for interesting new communities to highlight here on opensource.com. Over the past year, I’ve covered everything from Wikipedia to OpenIDEO to The White House and am, frankly, overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of new community-building efforts going on out there.

Seems like every day I get an email or see something on Twitter or Facebook about a new community that sounds interesting and innovative. I’ve found some amazing people and visionary ideas. I hope to continue to highlight the best of these new communities here on the business channel. » Read more

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Open business funding: New ideas for a new economy

Starting a business is always a bit of a gamble. But investing in a start-up is practically a guessing game.

“A lot of venture capitalists will tell you that for early stage investment they don't have any real way of knowing which businesses will succeed,” said Marc Dangeard, head of Entrepreneur Commons. “They might invest in thirty businesses of the same type for the one that will thrive.”

Faced with the difficulties of venture capitalism and start-up funding, Dangeard decided it was time to “take the ego out” of venture capital. » Read more

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The four capital mistakes of open source

How do you develop a successful open source business that lasts? Of the more than 250,000 open source projects on SourceForge, few will be successful at that goal. But one way they might think about how to do it is by doing it in reverse: What should an open source project or business not do?

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Does WikiLeaks damage the brand image of wikis?

Over the past few weeks, the world has been consuming the newest set of revelations via WikiLeaks. The uproar caused by the release of the first set of diplomatic cables from a batch of 251,000 in WikiLeaks' possession is enough to take your breath away.

A disclaimer: in this post it is not my intention to analyze the positive or negative consequences of the actions of the WikiLeaks organization—there is plenty of that coverage, just check your favorite news reader every five minutes or so to see the latest. » Read more

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Telling the open source story - Part 1

As open source software becomes more mainstream, it's easy to forget how amazing it is. Countless individuals, donating their time and sharing their brainpower, work to build a shared infrastructure on which the world's computing is done. Amazing. Even more amazing, in survey after survey, the big reason open source contributors give for their participation is that it's "fun." Even more amazing than that is the rate at which this technology improves because people are having fun building it.

Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia that anyone can write or edit, is no less amazing. Yet as it gains legitimacy, the exciting story of how it is created and renewed--daily, perpetually--is de-emphasized. Yes, Wikipedia is imperfect. By design, it will always be a work in progress. But because there is a collective human impulse to share knowledge, the fact that anyone can improve it any time they want, means that someone always will.

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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

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Recap: Open Your World webcast with Joseph Reagle, author of Good Faith Collaboration

What differentiates Wikipedia from other reference books where you have no idea of the process that went into them is that the Wikipedia encyclopedia is an artifact of an active community. A large one, in fact, with about 41,000 contributors editing five or more times a month and 1,000 active administrators. The "Wiki" part has its origins with Ward Cunningham, who saw it on the "Wiki Wiki Shuttle Bus" at the Honolulu airport. » Read more

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