Daily Archives: January 8, 2010

Abstract: Reopening Open – What is the Real Meaning of Open?

This is my proposed abstract for an upcoming keynote talk I have planned for May.

It has been over 20 years since the the Gnu Public License (GPL) and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) licenses were created. In the beginning, Open Source was a very radical notion and was seen as a way to foment a new social contract around software and later content. In this talk, we look at the motivation and context of the early open licenses and the software development communities that formed as an extension of the activist origins of the Open movement (i.e. the bazaar). We also look at the phase where the notion of Open has moved from radical-far-out to the mainstream as it became clear that these open bazaar-style communities actually had advantages over the more traditional styles of organization. We look at how the concept of “open” has been redefined away from its activist roots so that it can be applied to more traditional and even completely closed-source proprietary solutions. We also look at how the concept of open has moved into content through the Creative Commons and the kinds of new ways of working now that we have a reasonable structure for content reuse and remixing. In addition, we will look forward at the potential problems that “Open” must face going forward and look for a way for us to get back to the roots of open.

GPL: July 1988

BSD: June 1989

Creative Commons: December 2003