OSE Principles of Open Culture

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by Marcin

OSE Principles of Open Culture build upon the Shuttleworth Foundation Principles of Open Culture. Further, from an operational standpoint, I observe:

  1. There are two types of people: those with Open Culture and those in the old guard. I have seen a number of well-meaning people who are the most friendly and progressive, yet who are missing the basic concept that publishing information in the unfinished/development/process stage is useful to promote collaboration. I have seen examples where an individual was presenting technical information for my eyes only, and I requested that if they are not willing to share the document in question openly, then I am not interested in looking at it myself. My reason is that my team is the world. I share documents openly in general - as that allows me to obtain wide and immediate review - and not only from our core team, but from random contributors all over the world. If I am not able to share information openly, I am not able to get as much feedback and collaboration. Since I believe that collaborative development is much more effective than 'let me run off into a corner and come back with a final answer' - I would rather not limit my collaborative potential where secrecy is required. Secrecy takes too much overhead to manage - it is a form of competitive waste.
  2. My viewpoint was formulated during grad school, where our group had cutting edge knowledge and I could not discuss it openly - due to the environment of competitive funding where groups compete for scarce resources. I figured that this is wasteful - yet it is the status quo. I promised to myself that I would work on creating a societal infrastructure that fosters collaboration, not competitive waste. Acting on this means to me that I share my information openly. If someone picks up the information and runs with it - that is progress for humanity. It does not matter who does it, as long as society moves forward.
  3. Part of the above is publishing all under CC-BY-SA, where we coerce users of the information that we generate to contribute back to society. I am a fierce freedom lover, and this is the only example of coercion that I favor.
  4. There are cases when practical considerations make open documentation impractical, and this does not necessarily imply closed culture. The critical distinction is the reason why that person is not publishing.
  5. There are 4 cases of closed behavior - though not necessarily of closed culture. Closed behavior refers to a one-time instance. Closed culture is a pervasive and consistent set of closed behavior.
    1. A person does not want to share information because of fear. This is closed behavior and typically implies closed culture. That fear is loss of business: How will I make money?
    2. A person who does not want to share information because they don't appreciate why sharing is useful, though they do not have the same fear-based response as in case. If this type of response is pervasive and consistent, then the person also has closed culture.
    3. A person does not share information because they haven't even considered that sharing is useful. This is unaware behavior, and this person may or may not learn open culture.
    4. A person does not share information with the excuse that there is no point to put half-baked ideas out there - especially ones that could potentially be damaging to others. From the considerations of Open Culture - this argument does not hold water - because pervasive disclaimers or warnings can be utilized - and it is up to the user to take caution. Further, open culture implies responsibility - where sound judgment must accompany one's choices. The potential positive effect of development acceleration via collaborative development towards the greater good outweighs the potential negative effects. Thus, such behavior clearly implies closed culture - where it is more likely that an underlying fear of loss (of business) is the operative force in the discussion.
  6. How will I make money is a largely misguided question. The real question beneath that is How will I generate value? Under the assumpion that certain things have inherent value - one can be guaranteed to generate value if one is producing those inherently valuable things (for trade or for autonomy).
  7. Collaborative development works if people believe that it can work - where utility is defined via merit of distributive economics. Proprietary development works for the ends of concentrative economics. Either operating system is viable - opinion of author. Opinion may be substantiated upon creation of the open source economy in 2023.