Beer and liberty

Looking back at some research into open source in Europe I did way back in 2006, I’m struck again by how important other aspects of ‘open’ and ‘free’ have become since then. Research carried out in the mid-decade had assumed that open source techniques were a core element in opening up eGovernment; turns out that that’s not the case. (Mind you, it was pretty obvious even then.)

Since 2006 Twitter, Facebook the likes of WordPress.com have become important free platforms for delivering and shaping open government and citizen participation.

Open data and web services have also been conspiring to make the GPL less relevant. Who cares who owns the code when anyone can analyse the data it’s making public on the web? Using tools and services that may be free (as in liberty) but provided as a paid for service, or (more-likely) commercial, but provided free (as in beer) thanks to the advertisers.

Possibly not good news for the zealots over at the FSF.

Coincidently (honest), therre’s more on cloud computing, trends in licenses and ‘open enough’ at the 451 CAOS blog here.

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About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
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