25 Ways Open Source is Catching On Beyond Software : Page 4

The open source movement is spreading far beyond software to space travel, cars, spying, textbooks, art -- even cupcakes.
Posted November 28, 2011
By

Cynthia Harvey


(Page 4 of 5)

Open Source Yoga

16. Open Source Yoga Unity

If any discipline seems like a perfect fit for the free and open source philosophy, yoga certainly fits the bill. However, some yoga practitioners have apparently been attempting to copyright certain poses and practices (who knew?). Open Source Yoga Unity (OSYU) is standing up against these attempts to enforce copyrights on yoga practices.

In 2005, OSYU reached a legal settlement with Bikram regarding copyright and legal issues. However, Bikram resumed a "cease and desist" letter writing campaign earlier this year, and OSYU provides a means for those who receive those letters to resist and "to ensure the continued unfettered development of yoga for all to enjoy.

What makes it open source? OSYU asserts that "Yoga exists in the public domain." The group adds, "We encourage the free flow of information, including the wisdom of yoga, to all people."

Open Source Legal Reference

17. Law.gov

While U.S. law probably shouldn't be open source in terms of anyone being able to modify it freely, this group believes that all U.S. laws should be freely available to U.S. citizens at no charge.

Law.gov (which inexplicably is not located at law.gov, but instead at <law.resource.org) believes "that the primary legal materials of the United States should be readily available to all, and that governmental institutions should make these materials available in bulk as distributed, authenticated, well-formatted data."

In 2010, they held a series of 15 workshops held at various locations including Stanford and Harvard. The 600 attendees agreed to set of ten core principles, including the following:

  • "Direct fees for dissemination of primary legal materials should be avoided."
  • "Primary legal materials should be made available using bulk access mechanisms so they may be downloaded by anyone."
  • "The primary legal materials, and the methods used to access them, should be authenticated so people can trust in the integrity of these materials."
  • "Historical archives should be made available online and in a static location to the extent possible."

The group has since been in contact with appropriate regulatory groups to see about turning these ideas into reality.

What makes it open source? The purpose of the group is to make U.S. laws freely available to all citizens; in other words, to "open source America's operating system." The group is also being open about its own activities, posting videos, documents, and other materials on the website.

Open Source Government

18. Open Government Partnership

On September 20 of this year, eight countries launched an international effort to make government more transparent. As the founding members of the Open Government Partnership, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States pledged themselves to improving public services, increasing public integrity, more effectively managing public resources, creating safer communities and increasing corporate accountability.

The group hopes to attract other countries to be a part of the Open Government Partnership. In order to join, countries must sign the Open Government Declaration, create an action plan for improving their government and commit to independent reporting on their progress towards their goals. They must also meet the minimum requirements: fiscal transparency, public access to information, disclosure of income and asset information for public officials, and engaging their citizens in policymaking and governance.

The group plans to meet again in December for a "peer exchange" and in April for a large conference.

What makes it open source? The Open Government Partnership is all about improving government by making it more open.

Open Source Sustainability

19. Earth Open Source

Earth Open Source aims to help "restore agriculture to its open source roots." In the beginning, all farming was open source, the group says. Farmers freely shared seeds and knowledge with each other and collaborated on tasks that required a larger labor force. People knew where their food came from—usually because they grew it themselves.

However, the group contends that in the 20th century, agriculture switched to a closed source model. Large corporations control the food chain. They use patented seeds and technology that they keep to themselves.

The Earth Open Source website serves as a clearinghouse for information about returning to a more sustainable food system. With a variety of videos, reports and other news, it hopes to engage a community of visitors in a collaborative effort to "open source" the food chain.

What makes it open source? Earth Open Source is all about openness and collaboration. The group aims to spread knowledge about our food system and encourage people to work together to find more sustainable methods of agriculture and food distribution.

Open Source Film

20. ClickMovement

In 2000, PBS aired a documentary called Code Rush, which chronicled the efforts of the developers working on Netscape's open source Web browser during the height of the dot-com era. It captures some of the foundations of the Mozilla Foundation, which has been hugely influential in the open source software movement.

The original producers have now "open sourced" their original footage, releasing all of the original video and searchable transcripts under a creative commons license.

Clickmovement.org is working on creating a new documentary based on this footage. The project invites artists, film-makers, researchers, designers and "people with ideas" to collaborate on creating the film. Eventually, those who get involved with the project will be able to post their own content to the project's website.

ClickMovement is just one of many groups of artists working on incorporating open source philosophies in the film-making process. Others include Stray Cinema and the Open Source Film Project.

What makes it open source? ClickMovement is making an open source documentary, using open source video footage about creating open source software. You can't get more open source than that.


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