For years, I’ve been an advocate of FLOSS aka Free/Libre and Open Source Software. The nearly 19 year old sunsite/metalab/ibiblio project is a testimony to my work in Open Source and Open Information. I’ve not give that up.
How to explain then giving up something that appears to be open or at least have some strong open options like email for options that provide an activity stream but that are closed or worse (according to some) walled gardens?
First I would argue that most email isn’t free and open so much as interoperable. I think interoperablity is a good thing, but many of the activity stream applications are interoperable as well. To say that, “I like my mail open and not owned by The Man” when you have just sent me email from Outlook, GMail or HotMail hosted accounts isn’t very convincing.
I’m convinced that net neutrality and open protocols and as far as I can manage it open source software will be what works out in the long run even for the #noemail project. To that end, I don’t see unitary solutions that might work on an intranet solution to work well in the open internet — Sorry Yammer and Lotus Connections and your pals. Instead, I see some sort of shifting and developing network of interoperable applications that will be formed by the interactions of technological, sociological, psychological and business constraints and opportunities.
Many of the current attempts at activity streams see email as central to the effort, I don’t. In fact, I see the persistance of email as a mistake like an investment in horse collars as Ford expanded his factories or in typewriters as truly personal and popular computers were hitting the market.
It’s my hope that open source options will be essential to the creation of an evolving activity stream ecosystem.
Help me by suggesting some good FLOSS and Open Information options. One obvious project is the Open Social Project; any experience with that?
One new reason why #noemail project exists: “Please reply this e-mail, if you don’t want to recieve any more e-mails from Turkish Ear Nose Throat Society…”