With origins like these it’s not surprising that the Open Source Movement seems like a geeky, online cult far removed from the glamour of advertising and Madison Avenue. However, it’s quickly moving beyond geeksville. Mainstream consumers are falling for the values that drive OSM and the super-charged, online communities that are its constituent parts.
The buzz of meeting like-minded people from all over the world: the fun of sharing ideas, however crazy or leftfield; the feelings of empowerment; the can-do, pioneering freedom. It’s these social, entrepreneurial values that are driving Open Source among gamers, petrol heads, food lovers, film fans, musicians, sports junkies, globetrotters and almost every other area of modern culture. Just like TV did 50 years ago.
The non-technical examples of Open Source are varied and growing fast.
The massive file-sharing communities that gave birth to Napster and reinvigorated the music industry are based on Open Source values.
The Creative Commons license is a new type of copyright (nicknamed copyleft) created by an Open Source community that gives artists the flexibility to collaborate. Its fans include Chuck D, the Beastie Boys, David Byrne and Gilberto Gil.
Wikipedia is an Open Source encyclopaedia (recently recognised by the Press Association) containing 1.3 million articles in eight different languages, all written, developed and maintained by regular people around the world.
Ohmynews is an Open Source Korean newspaper written by more than 40,000 individual citizens.
All massive collaborations among thousands of far-flung individuals, turned on by Open Source values.