I’ve been a little too swamped with school and interviews to do much openservice thinking of late, but it has not been far from my mind. Some links to prove I’m at least reading if not writing:
- Matt Asay hits on the crux of the issue- GPL, in a web context, is just like BSD. Some people may think that this is a good thing, but if you’re in the camp that believes that ‘share alike’ is a good thing for users and producers of software, then Matt’s words should bother you. I do think, though, that focusing on the software is not enough- as Mike Linksvayer notes, source code hardly matters at all for a service like Facebook.
- Chris Messina has some initial thinking about identity and protocol. Traditional open source software gives the user-customer control of their own data, including their identity; to provide the same level of control to users of web services will require really innovative thinking along these lines.
- Social network designers are starting to think about these issues; google is rumored to be competing with facebook using openness as the differentiating feature, having hired someone doing interesting thinking on the problem. See also.
- See the punditocracy talking about the problem, in bill of rights format. (I suppose this post is a bit of a stone in a glass house on that count, but they’ve got a 1:1 ratio of blog posts to press contacts. Mine is a little bit better than that.) Chris Messina adds some substance; ClaimID is ahead of the curve.
- Simon responded to my ‘user-deployers/user-consumers’ post with a very good post on community roles. Important to know what freedoms/rights/features you’re providing/protecting before you go about trying to provide them.
- Lots of people have argued that open services do not require open source servers; Matt Asay goes into a related topic here. I currently am leaning towards thinking that there is a place for closed services that implement source-available standards (e.g., Amazon EC2 as basically a very fancy implementation of Xen) but I realize this will be one of the most difficult issues in defining open services.
- Jon Udell talks about ‘hosted lifebits.’ Good reminder that in the long-term this is way bigger than facebook and email. Dan Gillmor has some similar comments, in the context of Google’s shutdown of Google Video.
- The esteemed Sr. O’Grady writes about open source and the network (related Asay note), noting among many other things that Joyent is an option for those who want open source replacements for the google tools. Perhaps someone could work with Joyent on the TOS for their hosted service to make this a reality. Chandler is already going in that direction– wish I’d had more time to talk to them when they made that post, maybe it isn’t too late :)