Eine leuchtende grüne Ampel neben einer roten, die mit dem Wort 'GO' beschriftet ist.

5.1.2007 | Von:
Rishab Aiyer Ghosh

The Big World of the Many Small

Open Source projects don't need big motives, big money or big time, says Rishab Aiyer Ghosh. All they need are lots of tasks and incentives just large enough to be interesting and feasible for lots of people.

In one sentence: What is Open Source?

Open source software is software which everyone has the freedom to use for any purpose, to study, to modify and to share. If you want to extend it beyond software, you will have to find ways of defining what it is to use, study, modify and share other things.

Could you give examples for other things "open source"?

For instance, if you look at a textbook, the freedom to use would mean the freedom to use it for any purpose, which includes commercial as well as non-commercial, to use it for teaching as well as an art project.

  • German interview

  • The freedom to study – well, to study is not the same problem for many other things as it is for software. With software, it means to be able to see the source code behind the program that's running. But when it's a textbook, using and studying can be more or less the same thing: you read to use and you read to study as well.

    Freedom to modify, now that's interesting because you need to have the right to modify the textbook. Unlike software, anyone can make changes to the textbook in terms of practically doing so. It's more the law that prevents you from doing that. So if it's a textbook under a licence such as the creative commons licence, that says, "you are legally allowed to make changes to this", then you have the freedom to modify the textbook. And the freedom to share is of course being able to distribute the textbook to anyone else.

    If you take producers of open source software: What drives them to do this, to give away things for free? What are their motives?

    For software developers, the most common motivation is learning and developing new skills. Because free software developers learn by doing and most developers are actually not writing a lot of code. They are writing small amounts and they're making modifications rather than writing new things. So for them, it's learning. They are studying something, they're modifying it, and then they give it back. Other people comment on it, criticize it, and they learn more.

    But for others who are creating big things, there are lots of different reasons, which include publicity, the need to get a job, solving a problem that's not possible to solve in another way. And there are lots of companies which release free software as well, and they have perfectly commercial motives; it's often better for your business if you release software for free and charge money for providing services than trying to charge for the software itself.

    It also means that you can use software that is produced by others for free. So you create free software which is built upon other free software. That also helps to reduce the need for a "big" motive.


    Creative Commons License

    Dieser Text ist unter der Creative Commons Lizenz "CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DE - Namensnennung - Nicht-kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitung 2.0 Deutschland" veröffentlicht.
    Urheberrechtliche Angaben zu Bildern / Grafiken / Videos finden sich direkt bei den Abbildungen.


    Publikationen zum Thema

    Gemeingüter

    Gemeingüter

    Wie lassen sich knappe natürliche Ressourcen so verwalten und bewirtschaften, dass ihre Nutzung dur...

    Wissen und Eigentum

    Wissen und Eigentum

    Besitzen Autoren ihre Werke? Ist Wissen ohne rechtlichen Schutz vermarktbar, verwertbar oder wertlos...

    Zum Shop

    Dossier

    Open Data

    Open Data steht für die Idee, Daten öffentlich frei verfügbar und nutzbar zu machen. Welches Potential verbirgt sich hinter den Daten, die Behörden und Ministerien, Parlamente, Gerichte und andere Teile der öffentlichen Verwaltung produzieren? Das Dossier klärt über die Möglichkeiten offener Daten für eine nachhaltige demokratische Entwicklung auf und zeigt, wie Datenjournalisten mit diesen Datensätzen umgehen.

    Mehr lesen

    Dialog

    Die Netzdebatte

    Netzdebatte ist das Debattenportal der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Das Weblog greift Themen auf, die die Gesellschaft bewegen. Netzdebatte erklärt Hintergründe, bildet Positionen ab und bietet einen Ort zum Diskutieren.

    Mehr lesen

    spielbar.de

    spielbar.de informiert über Computerspiele und erstellt pädagogische Beurteilungen. Pädagogen, Eltern und Gamer sind eingeladen, ihre eigenen Beurteilungen, Meinungen und Kommentare zu veröffentlichen.

    Mehr lesen auf spielbar.de