Life

Diaspora private alpha just released

For those who have been patiently waiting, the first round of Diaspora alpha invites has been distributed. They're planning to first bring in those who contributed via Kickstarter way back when this all began. Next those on their mailing list will start receiving their invites. » Read more

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Theft! A History of Music—Part 1: Plato and all that jazz

Why did Plato argue that remixing should be banned by the state? What threats did jazz and rock 'n roll pose? And what does all of that mean for the conflicts between artists and copyright today? » 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.

» Read more

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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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Ben Brown on open source journalism, PeoplePods, and parties

Build a community by throwing a big party. Straight-up advice from Ben Brown, cofounder of the product design firm, XOXCO, Inc. And that's just one little nugget of information about online community-building that Ben is sharing. He's got 15 years of experience doing this, so get ready to take notes.

Brown is a software designer and a veteran of many online communities. He's been building websites since the mid-1990's and mixing it up with social media since before it was called social media. You could say he's a pioneer in community-building. Now he's using his experience to build a toolkit called Peoplepods--that might just redefine the future of community sites.

Do you want to know what the future of online community looks like? Me too. We asked Ben for his thoughts. » Read more

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Good design is hard on all of us

Tim Lee is, for my money, one of the most reasonable and thoughtful tech policy essayists we have. His latest, “Open User Interfaces Suck” got my attention, because he hits me right where I live. In his usual, respectful, level-headed way, he claims that open systems (like the open source development process I love so dearly) are ill-suited to a good user experience. » Read more

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Poll: Where do we live?

Global map

The opensouce.com community is growing fast, and we're trying to figure out who we are and what we care about. The more we know about ourselves, the more relevant our content and discussions will be.

These polls aren't scientific, but they will give us a useful snapshot of of our growing community, so we can plan better for the future.

Feel free to tell us more about you in the comments.

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Introducing students to the world of open source: Day 2

Read part 1 of this story about launching a weekend course to teach college students how to get involved in open source projects.

After Saturday's classroom-style work, we used Sunday for an open projects day, where students could drop in and get help contributing to a project. Perhaps because we didn't force the students to commit, only about twenty students came. » Read more

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Google stands up for your data

If technology had its own version of People magazine, this week's cover story would involve pictures of Google and Facebook in opposing bubbles, looking angrily in each other's direction. » Read more

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Joining us on IRC

You may have noticed that when we have a webcast, we mention you can join us on IRC. You can also join us there any time. IRC is commonly used in developer communities, but it's easy for anyone to chat with. You may even have software already that will let you connect, and if not, you can use a web interface.

Connecting with Pidgin » Read more

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