Wednesday, December 21, 2005

the architecture of participation

Tim OReilly
Originally uploaded by Bill Kerr.
The traditional wisdom that Open Source is mainly about a new licensing model is wrong.

O’Reilly draws a parallel with the paradigm shift that IBM started in 1981-2 when they released the specs for the PC and started the separation of hardware from software. This led to the rise of companies such as Compaq, Dell (hardware) and Microsoft (software).

The paradigm shift happening today is from the PC to the network

The O’Reilly book Google Hacks was the no. 1 best seller for over a month, illustrating the interest in web applications that run over the internet

The backend can be described by the acronym LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP (or Python or Perl).

Open Source licensing (eg, Stallman’s GPL license) is an important issue but we need to realise that the most interesting software these days is not even distributed, it is just performed – google, amazon software – and these companies offer a total service based on massive amounts of data / information and a critical mass of users.

MapQuest is another example of a killer application (only applies to the USA). Later in the talk he qualifies this because they haven’t figured out the architecture of participation

The most important thing to watch for these days is network enable collaboration, which results in an adhocracy (term attributed to Alvin Toffler and Cory Doctorow – scifi writer.

Power is shifting from the company to the individual. Individual like Linus Torvalds and Larry Wall are more important than the companies they work for. The same thing has already happened in Hollywood, the individuals are more important than the companies.

“Architecture of participation”.
“Small pieces loosely joined”
Some software is built to encourage participation, eg. Linux has a small kernel, whereas other software is not, eg. Windows.

Other examples of the architecture of participation:
  • amazon software enables user reviews (over 10,000,000 on amazon) and list mania (the writers of lists on particular topics receive a kickback)
  • the google page rank algorithm
This is my summary of Tim O'Reilly's talk, Rethinking the Boundaries.


Blogger Wara said...

Do you remember all of the hoohaa when IBM compatables/clones were first arriving on the market? I recall that IBM were not happy campers. Yet it was the openess, the flexible modular nature of the PC and so many manufacturers could participate in the market that led to its broad use and market dominance, as a product.

5:40 PM  

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