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Nothing new (to those reading about such topics more or less regularly), but a nice article anyway — a nice introduction for the rest (the majority)."
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Full story found on Tom's Hardare: http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/12/19/apple_display_update/"
So what is stopping anyone from trying to extend such projects, or create new ones, to be money-making projects? If a community can build — and maintain! — Wikipedia or Linux, couldn't it also build and maintain a company like Google? Of course, not replacing traditional business, just like Open Source/Collaboration has not replaced traditional ways of producing code or content.
Are there any such projects underway? I've started one (letexa.com) myself, but only because I couldn't find one to join forces with. I tried very hard, but when I ask people keep pointing me to "traditional" open projects that have no intention to go any further than producing free stuff. I'm looking for a project where marketing, supporting and selling is part of "open"!
Isn't that the logical step to take from where we are with community-projects?"
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1) Those that are or want to be commercial successes for a closed group of people (founders and investors). Examples are Google, and Slashdot.
2) Then there are many thousands tiny webprojects by one or a few individuals.
We have seen it IS possible to build something really useful and commercially successful as a big open group of users, for example Linux, Apache, Debian.
What disturbs me is that COMMERCIAL success of such projects is left to corporations. Should it not be possible to build such projects to INCLUDE the money-making, and not just the product-making?
All projects I see are either type 1) or 2). Now, if instead of contributing for nothing one could have free (as in open source, not necessarily as in free beer) projects intended to also make money, wouldn't that at least be worth an attempt?
I started a project (http://letexa.com/) for multimedia content. However, doing it alone wasn't the intention and doesn't get me anywhere. I would also be just as glad to help with some other project. The problem is, I would like to see the "web 2.0" and "Open source" ideas extended, and not limited to "you work for free", which right now no one seems to do?
So what do you think? How could WE go about starting such a project? Or would anyone be willing to share mine, or have me join theirs?"
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turn this into a community project. The aim is to jointly create
sophisticated multimedia learning and information content. Topics can be
anything, but I would like to concentrate on IT topics and open source
The website is http://letexa.com/
The name stands for LEarning and TEaching
eXchange. I found it while looking for available
were short, easy to pronounce, not a word in one language — and free of
I must admit I have little desire to discuss this question. If you don't
see any sense in producing such content, feel free to ignore me. I'm
saying this because after posting my latest course on the Mozilla
Thunderbird forum the second response I got sounded as if the guy wanted
to bill me for wasting his time and producing something he didn't want.
Now it is absolutely clear to me that the universe functions very well
without my project. Everything already exists, one might think, in the
form of various books, papers, forum-, mailinglist- or
newsgroup-articles, etc. That is absolutely true!
However, with the same argument you can easily argue against yet another
coffee shop in your neighborhood, against yet another book about XYZ,
against yet another car manufacturer, etc. ad infinitum — until you find
that all you need is sleep and food and maybe a roof over your head. Who
needs airlines, fun parks, TV, movies,...?
So the question is not if my project is really *needed*. Rather, once it
exists and has sufficient content and not just a handful of beta-quality
course material (the current situation), are there going to be enough
people interested in it? Provided they know it exists in the first
place, another big problem, but a completely different one — that's
"merely" a marketing issue.
I (obviously) think the answer is yes.
*What kind of content do I want to produce?*
Most, or actually almost all courses I've seen are screen recordings and
show how to do something in a particular product. I would like to
produce such content too, but I think the real fun lies in producing
background information content.
Examples are my little pieces (I call them "courselets" instead of
"course", because they should be part of a larger context) about Email,
RSS and newsgroups:
* Email: http://letexa.com/courses/2/
* RSS: Email: http://letexa.com/courses/4/
* Newsgroups: Email: http://letexa.com/courses/3/
A commercial example is something I made for Open Xchange, which is a 15
minute product demonstration, mostly of a webinterface for their product:
One could produce this for open source software, too, the kind of
software I'd like to focus on.
I also imagine things like introductory Linux courses, Linux admin
courses, networking, creating webpages, etc. etc. The list of topics is
I would like to do something a little different than other open source
projects. I would like this project to make money. Okay, maybe that
isn't so different, Mozilla makes money! But I would like to create
mechanisms that distribute the income to those responsible for creating
it. For income details see the "About" sections of the letexa.com
webpage. Producing good content is a very time-consuming process
(actually, bad content takes just as long, sometimes), and I really
don't see why making money should be left to some corporations. I think
community processes *do* work well with capitalism.
My first problem is me. Who am I? Why should anyone listen? Besides,
I've got quite a few weaknesses, not the least one is that I cannot
really claim to know exactly what I'm doing and how to do it.
My next big problem is that I'm alone, and it is a HUGE project. Even
those small courses (courselets) on the Letexa website took a looong
time to produce. And they are far from what I would like them to be.
Where is the interactivity, for example?
Next, when I work on such a course I easily loose sight of the big
picture (maybe I never had a good perspective in the first place). When
I worry about why the Flash events I rely on for navigation don't fire
reliably I cannot think about larger questions. Besides, I can see how
this project works — 10 years later, with lots of active participants
and lots of users. I have grave doubts about my ability to get it there.
See the first problem.
But the fact remains, I started, I'm willing to invest even more of my
time (equals money, the income I forgo), and I have fun doing it. It
would just be nice not to be alone and to see much more progress."
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