Open?

All rights reserved by markleepower Used with permission.
All rights reserved by markleepower Used with permission.

I talk a lot about being ‘open’. Or rather supporting that idea(l). The subtitle to this blog talks about the ’open web’. The problem is I increasingly wondering just what I mean by it and whether I’m failing as an ’open citizen’.

At one time or another in my career I’ve been pretty closely associated with open..

– source
– access
– education
– content
– web
– data

A collection of loosely connected movements that share some common elements and supporters but frequently different drivers/motivations and each comes with a completely individual set of baggage.

I continue to financially contribute to some significant players (Mozilla, Wikipedia, Creative Commons, Open Rights Group) but I’m writing this post on an iPad mini in iA Writer. My main computer is also a Mac so I’m hardly practicing what I preach. I feel like an ’open’ champagne socialist. I’m not a developer so my participation has often been slightly abstract anyway.

Open source still has a major role in my online activities as I would be lost without WordPress and am also finding a use for Ghost. Notational Velocity is my main note taking tool on my Mac but for ’real’ writing I use Writer or Pages and the tool I couldn’t lose now is Evernote (for which I pay but my reliance upon it troubles me a little).

I continue to consume huge amounts of content via the open RSS standard but these days I use an iOS app to do it.

I still try to act as a good citizen as regards content and licensing – compfight.com in CC mode is where I find most images I use in posts and presentations but sometimes I am tempted to join the clueless or lazy masses who just don’t worry about these things.

I wonder if just the fact I have these dilemmas is enough? I admire Cory Doctorow and his commitment to a truly open workflow. I admire the folks I know at Mozilla, OKFN, ODI etc. They are, as Stan Lee was want to say, true believers. I’m not. Not anymore anyway.

Or maybe I’m just playing at this and should accept that my commitment has faded and my donations are just a reminder of an earlier, more principled version of Jukesie.

I think my true commitment is to this. This idea of ’working open’. Working and thinking in public and sharing and contributing where I can.

Just not getting too hung up on the tools I use to do that.

If you are more sure of your commitment to the world of open than myself then Wikimedia UK is funding an amazing part-time post for six months – Open Coalition Coordinator – working with Open Knowledge Foundation, Creative Commons, Mozilla, Open Rights Group and OpenStreetMap among others to put on event and generally to tie things together more.

3 thoughts on “Open?

  1. I think that a purist open lifecycle is a hard thing to maintain. It’s possible but it takes commitment that many of us cannot achieve. All or nothing is a minority sport http://fragmentsofamber.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/eco-open/ . I think being an ethical consumer is better than nothing, and not being 100% perfect doesn’t disqualify us from promoting the values of open. Purism is exhausting and can alienate the majority from taking small steps.

  2. Matt Jukes says:

    I agree Amber – especially the ability of the purist stance to alienate. I’m aware I’ve been on both sides of that equation!

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