Thursday, February 26, 2009

Open Source, It's Not Just For Software Anymore

The open source movement has expanded greatly to cover more than just software, which is it's most common association. There are free/open source Linux operating systems to completely replace the crappy software that most likely came standard on your computer. Mandriva and Ubuntu are two popular Linux distributions that you can download for free and install on as many computers as you like, all legally. Open source was devised as a way to license something without restricting it's use by others. It allows you the freedom to use or modify it any way you like, provided that you give credit to those who came before you and you include a copy of the GPL. That's General Public License.

Some very smart people also came up with a way to license other types of works such as print, music, and other art forms. Creative Commons (CC) is a copyright that allows for some uses of your work that you authorize by which CC license you choose. You get to choose if someone else can use your work for a project, provided they give you credit for the work. There are many variations of the CC license to choose from. Some allow for commercial uses, some allow for commercial uses for a fee, some restrict commercial uses but allow other types of use.

For something even more different and super cool, the folks at The Factor E Farm are designing farm equipment you can build yourself, they are powering their equipment with vegetable oil, and coming up with earth friendly building techniques and sustainable agriculture practices. They are sharing all of their ideas, through the Open Source model by making the plans, videos, and how to's freely available. Check this out for some examples of what they are up to. Here are some videos showing what they do as well.

One more to mention. The Open Science Project is a collaborative effort to make scientific knowledge and discoveries freely available as well.

I'll go into more detail on each of these in upcoming posts. Cheers for now, John, Lisa's geeky husband.

No comments:

Post a Comment