This pad is for the Why Open? course at P2PU (

Link to main Why Open? course pad:

During our first Google Hangout for the course (recording here: we had a conversation about how we might "market" openness, or educate people about it, so that they begin to use open source products rather than closed ones. For example, Apple used to (still does?) offer discounts to college students in the U.S., with the idea that after they leave college they'll still use Apple products. Some companies have contracts with hardware or software providers, so that anyone who works there has to use those, and as part of the job description they have to have experience with those products, thus spreading their use.

Some barriers to using open products like software include:

How might we expand knowledge of and use of open products instead of closed ones? Please put your ideas here!
Note: what we talk about on the collaborative document discussing why open? could be relevant too!

Please, in the spirit of collaboration, don't delete or modify what someone else has written. Just comment below or beside it!

In the desktop world, there are additional barriers that might prevent a user from switching to a proprietary OS to an open-source OS, the primary being mainly the lack of open-source hardware manufacturers, which results in subpar reverse-engineered open-source versions of the proprietary drivers, in which case for bleeding edge features and performance, the proprietary offerings will always have a leg up. WiFi adapters suffer similarly, as well. These are key elements to most users when considering migrating over.

The recent announcement of Valve supporting Linux officially brought a pretty healthy influx of mainstream users who might not of otherwise considered trying Linux out. Proprietary software and open-source software have a delicate relationship to maintain in the desktop world in regards to promoting the wide-spread use of open-source software and systems. I consider Valve to now be a pseudo "gateway" to an open-source system with them advocating it so much. A proprietary software user now has reason to try out an open-source OS, which will lead to the direct use of additional open-source software and content use. 

This process and issue seems very complex to find a relevant solution for. And the desktop world is still a vital component in achieving the wide-spread, mainstream use of open-source computing products with certain proprietary software and vendors play a vital role in promoting the open-source culture at the moment.

Software and web services

This website is a great resource for open alternatives to common proprietary web services: [Thanks to KingMe for bringing that up!]

One way to spread openness could be to :
  1. Share the link
  2. Adopt some of the alternatives suggested
  3. Talk about it in our networks (eg Tweet: now using DuckDuckGo as my web search engine. Want to know why? link to article)
  4. Blog about the experience if one feels up to it

Culture and content

The FOSsil Bank is a catalogue of works that are under public copyright licences, including free/libre/open ones:

Why Open?

Why are we spreading openness?  It is very unlikely to be for direct personal gain.  Our values (we like openness) probably play a part.
Is openness is good for others?  In what ways?

Parallel questions: what are the values of openness and does one have to share these values to want to engage in openness?

>> How can we use these benefits to establish growable systems?

Is the corporate notion of competition a useful frame for us to think about the spread of openness?
Is it problematic to wrap a pursuit of openness in the terms of a system whose underlying MO [modus operandi?] (scarcity economics) is closed?  Do we need to reevaluate these concepts to suit MOs better aligned wth openness (e.g. abundance economics / sharing economy)? +1 for framing within abandance economics. Need to redefine the terms of the debate.

In what ways is 'open' more competitive, and how can this competitive advantage be used to outcompete closed corporate models?

What is the 'low hanging fruit' for more open models to be competitive?
(e.g. Diaspora is pursuing a niche that is NOT a low hanging fruit, given the impact of network effects and sunk-costs of personal investment in privately owned social networks.)

What (eco)systemic changes are needed for more open options to be able to compete?
(e.g. existance of appstores makes open apps viable, these existed previously, e.g. Nokia/Symbian apps, but in the absence of the right conditions it was very difficult, these products did not flourish, and large corporate interests still held most sway).
For something like Diaspora to thrive would probably require a systemic change for better transferability and interoperability between different social networks, so that it is easier for users to move.  What might make this possible?

Paradox of openness and interoperability - a double-edged sword: open/permeable service boundaries are an important part of openness, enabling users to better integrate services and products, and more flexibility to make and change choices (i.e. not be locked in)
However it can also enable more closed model competition to engage and then capture users (e.g. G+ offers many ways to engage inwards, but few to extend outwards).