03 August 2007

Parallel Universes?

Now, where have I heard this before?

Free and open source software (FOSS) has roots in the ideals of academic freedom and the unimpeded exchange of information. In the last five years, the concepts have come full circle, with FOSS serving as a model for Open Access (OA), a movement within academia to promote unrestricted access to scholarly material for both researchers and the general public.

"The philosophy is so similar that when we saw the success that open source was having, it served as a guiding light to us," says Melissa Hagemann, program manager for Open Access initiatives at the Open Society Institute, a private foundation for promoting democratic and accessible reform at all levels of society. Not only the philosophy, but also the history, the need to generate new business models, the potential empowerment of users, the impact on developing nations, and resistance to the movement make OA a near twin of FOSS.

Oh, I remember:

The parallels between this movement - what has come to be known as “open access” – and open source are striking. For both, the ultimate wellspring is the Internet, and the new economics of sharing that it enabled. Just as the early code for the Internet was a kind of proto-open source, so the early documentation – the RFCs – offered an example of proto-open access. And for both their practitioners, it is recognition – not recompense – that drives them to participate.

Great minds obviously think alike - and Bruce does have some nice new quotations. Read both; contrast and compare.

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