The next four stages of online networks – from tools and solutions to new structures and economic development
Open source is synonomous with software. Open source can also refer to the way people and resources are organised or structured to produce goods, services or another goal. Linux is the most prominent face of open source. Linux is software created by thousands of contributors in a "free software" spirit. Free software generally has no commercial elements and is focused on knowledge sharing. Open source structures extend a base of free knowledge built by online networks to include commercial elements and profit motives. Approximately two-thirds of the Linux kernel is contributed by companies and programmers that are being paid. Linux is a structure which has significant commercial contributions. This open source structure harnesses the unique contribution of each individual and aggregates them toward a common objectives.
The objectives of open source will change over time. As open source evolves and proves its capability, it will move beyond technology, beyond specific industries, to all other aspects of our society. This has been suggested in the past. However, existing organisations are not sufficiently motivated to apply advances in technology to promote development. Business, social and political entrepreneurs that establish online networks are likely to be the primary force for change.
The following paragraphs outline the first four stages of the development of online networks and the .Net boom. The objective of the online network in each stage is identified.
.Net 1.0 (tools)
The primary objective of online networks have been new tools. Tools can only be assembled by specialists to be useful. Linux and open source software are tools. Desktop linux is progressively making open source and free software accessible from the desktop (See Desktop Linux: a window to changing market ).
Hackers are able to craft solutions from open source. This changing very quickly to allow desktop users to create solutions with surprisingly little new skills.
.Net 2.0 (solutions)
The primary objective is the development of solutions. Getautomatix, Ubuntu, automation tools from Plesk and CPanel and 20,000+ freely downloable open source software allow the individual to build solutions. A social or business entrepreneur can begin with a Linux desktop and a US$40 per month web server. In 90 days, they could solve a problem. Within months, they could assemble a global audience.
Our global community is overwhelmingly information based. The opportunity for social and business entrepreneurs is unprecedented. However, the potential of collective innovation and open source to reshape our world needs to be demonstrated . Once the potential of open source has been demonstrated, open source style online networks will be rigorously pursued by business and social entrepreneurs. It will also probably be rigorously defended by organisations that will be significantly impacted.
Our global community will upgrade to .Net 2.0 (Solutions) over the next two years. The most visible part of this transition will be broader adoption of desktop Linux. We will also witness online networks that begin to reshape the community and significant resistance from the status quo.
.Net 3.0 (structures)
An online network will offer our community new industry, political and social structures. They simply recast society interactions using today's technology. The structures created by social and business entrepreneurs are likely to try to harness the unique contribution of individuals toward a common objective. Some structures and ventures will succeed. Others will fail. Over time these new structures are likely to deliver significant economic benefits. Many may be based on the spirit of free software. Many will be based on the principles of open source. These new structures will deliver significant opportunities for social, economic and political development.
.Net 4.0 (economic development)
The primary objective of online networks will be economic development Online networks are likely to have an impact on efficiency. Individual contribution based on interest and passion are likely to produce better outcomes.Online networks may overcome labour shortages and integrate a global pool of talent. Organisations can also access a global pool of talent. However, greater efficiency is important to economic development, but it is not the greatest impact that will come from the evolution of open source. The greatest impact of open source will be to ensure our industrial, political and social organisations effectively service their customers. Online networks will make organisations, open transparent and accessible. Many organisations today are proprietary, not transparent or inaccessible. We will be able to watch our organisations in real-time, provide feedback for community review, change where we spend our time and money, and how we vote - all based upon collective knowledge, rather than individual perception.
Note: The sitemap of this web site lists many articles which provide support for the assertions above. These are listed by categories. The articles include some "how to" articles for social and business entrepreneurs.