Open Source and Consumption
University for the Creative Arts, UK
Open sourcing, aligned with “crowdsourcing,” has emerged as a viable methodology for collaborative co-production in today's knowledge society. Largely inspired by the computer hacker culture and the Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) movement that originated in the late 1970s and early 1980s, open sourcing refers to the practice of releasing product source codes or recipes for the general public to scrutinize, study, change, share, distribute, and redistribute the original and/or the modified work. Normally, open source products (be it software or hardware) or services, identifiable by open source licenses, feature higher modularity, transparency, openness, compatibility, interoperability, and sustainability than proprietary ones.
Though it is often implicit or invisible, a considerable quantity of goods or services that modern societies consume every day are based on FLOSS, co-developed (largely voluntarily but sometimes paid) by people from diverse backgrounds in distributed environments. These goods and services include embedded digital infrastructures or technologies used in airplanes, transportation, or the banking system. In fact, it would be accurate to say that the Web 2.0 and social media boom is enabled by the availability of FLOSS. Contemporary society is also witnessing parallel movements such as open standards, open content, open access, and open data, ...