Wednesday, April 23, 2008

open sauce

I remember way back in the dot com boom a friend of ours brought home a bottle of 'open sauce' hot sauce from a convention; I didn't know what open source was at the time but supposedly this source from an open source recipe with a community working on it. Pretty cool, or hot, take your pick = )
But does open source hold up for material goods which have replication costs (as opposed to digital goods for which the constant reproduction and evolution costs only man-hours)? I read about a site recently which called itself an open source manufacturing site, in that designs for products would be created, refined, tested, and approved by a community; and the product would be produced by a central entity. From our readings however, it would seem that "open source" defines more than just an openness of the product for collaboration - a ream of clarifications apply like making sure all later incarnations of the product are also "open."
Stallman's talk of a future where everyone does what they love (in his example programming) freely and thus more productively begs the obvious question 'how do people who don't love programming participate in this utopia?' Stallman advocates deriving happiness from creativity over money; because as a programmer he has a way to express his creativity through his trade, but who expresses their creativity working an assembly line? Marx addressed this issue also, talking about a worker becoming alienated - Stallman felt alienated when forced to separate software and programmers proprietarily. Whether open source could solve alienation for material industries is another question

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