A Culture of Open Sharing

I’ve been using open source software for over 10 years now, and I’ve been publishing for over 20 years. I tend to be one that likes to share what I create with the world, and also appreciates when others share what they have created. To me, this is much of the basis of open source software – the creation and sharing of not just code, but ideas and ideals. When I say I’ve been using open source software for many years, I don’t do so begrudgingly, I do it because I believe in it.

Open for Business
(Photo by Janet Towbin)

When Creative Commons came along, I immediately saw a benefit to it. again, I’m not just a consumer of things, I am a creator of things, and I’ve published music, and created videos, and images and words, that I’ve carefully chosen a license for. I want others to be able to properly use my work, as I want to be able to use theirs.

BarCamp is a great example of open culture, and I’m proud of being one of the people who brought BarCamps to Wisconsin. Our local group, Web414 is modeled very much on the way a BarCamp works, ad-hoc and open. (In fact, we even declare our meetings a “Creative Commons Zone” and request that media created at the meetings use a Creative Commons license when published.)

YES WE'RE OPEN - from lwr
(Photo by Leo Reynolds)

Almost all of the feedback on things like BarCamp and DrupalCamp and Web414 has been positive. Now, I did say almost, because there exists this small group of people who seem to exist to take and not give, to do nothing but shoot things down instead of lift things up. They’re similar to trolls, but really, they are like leeches in that they tend to suck things out, and give nothing in return. They don’t share, they aren’t open, and they are negative to those who do, yet… they are more than happy to take what they can (for free) while never seeing the contradiction in their actions. Even those who make a living on the net, which was largely built on the ideas of openly sharing, don’t get it.

I Assure You We're Open - from radven
(Photo by Chris Dunphy)

And that’s where I’m done. I don’t want to deal with these people. They won’t change their minds, and I waste my time trying to get through to them. What’s the point? I’m more interested in positive and creative people who are doing interesting things, making the future happen, and willing to share that with the world. People who get excited about the work they are doing, whether they get paid for it or not. The people who care only about creating things in exchange for the almighty dollar, I have no time for you. Leave me be…

I’ll continue my pursuit of people and ideas and cultures that are open. That’s where the future is, or at least the future I want to be a part of.


What makes Firefox open-source?

I’ve had this argument many times with Justin… defining what exactly makes something open-source.

He is confident in telling me that Firefox is not open-source, and (as I understand it) he believes this because the Mozilla Organization, which controls the source code for Firefox, does not easily allow people to contribute code. They keep a tight grip on who was their bits put into Firefox. And while it is true that there are pieces in Firefox that you cannot use elsewhere (branding elements, graphics, etc.) I still believe that Firefox is open-source due to the fact that it uses the Mozilla Public License which is considered an open-source license by the Open Source Initiative.

I asked the question on Pownce recently, Is the Firefox web browser open-source?

And I think it’s a question that most people who have a basic understanding of the term “open-source” would answer “yes” to, but… Is that the case?

I thought maybe searching for “firefox is not open source” would unveil some great conspiracy I was not aware of, but no such luck.

Personally, I don’t think allowing people to contribute code is a requirement of open-source. It may be an important component of community and “open-ness” but accepting someone else’s code into your project does not seem to be a requirement. Providing the source code, and allowing people to modify and use that source code does seem to be a requirement, and though I’ve always downloaded binaries, I just downloaded the source code to Firefox.

So what is the scoop here? Is Firefox open-source?


The Return of Google-Free Friday?

Remember back in 2003 when I proposed Google-Free Fridays?

Looks like it’s making a comeback. See: This July: Try Google-Free Fridays!

Honestly I’m probably one of the few people I know who doesn’t completely rely on GMail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Floor Wax, Google AdSense, Google YouTube, Google Blogger, Google Sandwich Spread, Google Picasa, Google Groups, Google Shoelace Tying Machine, Google Analytics, Google Earth, Google Calendar, or Google Master Chef on a daily basis.

I do quite like their search and maps though…


Upload Video

The question was asked “where can I upload my video to?” as in, what (free) services will host my video files?

(Thanks to sull for the list.)

Personally, I use Ourmedia. It’s easy to select a Creative Commons license for your work, and they use The Internet Archive for the file storage. You could just use The Internet Archive, but Ourmedia adds nice features on top of it, including the fact that your uploads are available (almost) immediately instead of having to wait hours or days…

As for the others listed, I’m not really too familar with them. Just be sure to check their term of service. With some of them, you may be giving up rights you don’t want to in exchange for them hosting your file, or they may disappear someday taking your videos with them. It’s a tradeoff you’ll have to weigh in your final decision.

Don’t forget to see Freevlog for the steps leading up to the question of “where can I upload my video to?”