Exp Int Readings #01: Open-Source Thinking

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//              Before the advent of the Internet, creators had their works protected by laws such as the Seldon and Ford copyright patents that helped to uphold the ownership of their works by legal means and prevent idea theft. An absolutist propriety code could be exploited by larger and more powerful companies or individuals (as with the Microsoft and Gates mentioned in Sida Vaidhyanathan’s essay Open Source as Culture-Culture as Open Source,) limiting the concentration of expertise to themselves.  The limitations placed on idea sharing resulted in inefficient economic decisions. True ownership over material is also difficult to determine since “No one fully owns a book”, as Michael Walman says in his ‘Handbook on the Economics of Copyright’.

 

The introduction of open-source culture (OSC) by groups like Linux, liberated the restriction on human intellect capital by encouraging creators to give up ownership of their works completely or partially; in order for open collaboration and peer production to thrive. While licenses still exist to partially protect the intellectual property of creators, they promote the sharing of material in order to inspire and give birth to more innovative derivative information goods. With OSC, the notion that creators are solitary workers is no longer valid since it provided an opportunity for artists to utilise avant-garde platforms that transcended the physical boundaries of an artist. Such works, such as The Shredder, Glyphiti utilised the ‘metamedium’ that the platforms provide and incorporated interactivity, such that the participants or audience could determine the outcome of the artwork, instead of the artist, as showcased in Randall Packer’s article on Open Source Studio.

 

The code for the Linux operating system kernel was given away for free and has given rise to many distributions like the Steam OS (gaming) and Ubuntu (mobile devices) that support a myriad of software.

 

The Shredder by Mark Napler (mentioned in Randall Packer’s article) disrupts the format of a website and gives the audience ownership over this work since the participants are able to choose the website that they would like to enter to ‘shred’. Also, the webpage being ‘shredded’ is displayed in real-time, as such, the results of the ‘shredded’ websites will always differ, making each outcome a unique creation by the participant.

http://www.potatoland.org/shredder/shredder.html

 

This online interactive artwork ‘Glyphiti’ by Anthony Deck features a wall of glyphs. Each glyph can be freely altered by any visiting person to their liking. The aggregation of all the personalised glyphs then form the entirety of the glyphiti (much like how graffiti is done on actual walls in real life). I personally left my own pac-man drawing there.

http://artcontext.org/glyphiti/docs/index.php

 

Resources:

(1) Vaidhyanathan, Sida (2005) “Open Source as Culture-Culture as Open Source,” The Social Media Reader. New York: New York University Press, 2012

(2) Packer, Randall, Open Source Studio, IEEE Spectrum, 2015

(3) http://www.potatoland.org/shredder/shredder.html

(4) http://artcontext.org/glyphiti/docs/index.php

(5) Watt, Richard, eds. Handbook on the Economics of Copyright: A Guide for Students and Teachers. , (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014)doi:

(6) What is Linux? by The Linux Gamer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFFNiMV27VY

  1 comment for “Exp Int Readings #01: Open-Source Thinking

  1. January 25, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Some excellent points regarding the complexity of ownership and copyright issues as it pertains to technology and particularly to software. I am not familiar with all the examples you cited so perhaps you can share with the class, because I think you are adding an interesting addition to the history I am discussing. One issue you need to resolve: it is impossible to read your post without manually highlighting the text. You either need need to change the customization of your theme or find a new theme altogether. Perhaps you are trying to “glitch” our WordPress reading? 😉

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