Open Source

Monday, 3 July 2017

Today we will have a remote class since some of our comrades are not able to be present in the real world. I would like this to be an opportunity for us to reflect on some of the underlying philosophies of open source and think about how they get expressed in practice.

You should read the references contained in the session notes and then set up a Slack account using the link provided. We will have a discussion on Slack about the topic at hand and familiarize ourselves with that communications platform at the same time. I will post some questions relevant to the topic in the #general channel on Slack.

Open Source Philosophy

As we began to discuss last week, "open source" means that the source code used to build a piece of software or compile a document is available to the public, licenced for redistribution, and can be modified, used, remixed, and repurposed by anyone. This works not only for software, but also for other types of intellectual property. The source for this website, for instance, is available in a GitHub repo. If, when you are finished with this course, you wanted to take parts of it, repackage it, and set it up to teach it yourself, you could do that!

If you use GitHub to do that redistribution, like we have been talking about and exploring, then I would be able to look at your source code and pull in parts of it to enhance my course site. These systems and conventions are an ecosystem through which information can be generated, disseminated, and propagated in an innovative, community-focused way. The tools that we have been learning how to use place the means of production for digital materials into your hands, as our old friend Karl Marx wrote over 150 years ago.Curran, Ted. “‘Own the Means of Production’: What Karl Marx Knew about Opportunity in the Digital Economy.”, April 9, 2013.

This also means that the work contained in open source repos is mostly free, meaning that you can have it and use it without having to pay the creator, because the creator has released it and licensed it for that manner of use. This usually involves linking back to the creator to give credit and ensuring that derivative work follows the same or a similar license structure.Creative Commons, "About the Licenses" You should familiarize yourself with different content license types available through Creative Commons.Creative Commons, "Licensing Types" There is some discussion about the philosphical differences between standard copyright and so-called "copyleft" licenses, which attempt to explicitly open materials that would otherwise default to author copyright.Söderberg, Johan. "Copyleft vs. Copyright: A Marxist Critique." First Monday 7, no. 3 (March 4, 2002).

Slack Discussion

I would like you to look at the above references on software and content licensing.

Then, I would like you to set up an account on the Slack for this course. I and several other instructors have used this platform for holding out of class discussions and incidental communications. It is nicer than using email in a lot of ways because you can ask questions not just of your instructor, but of everyone in the class. Slack is intended to foster collaboration.

I have send an email invite to everyone in the course, but you can also click this link and sign up: Please do so.

I will post several prompts to start discussion about open source and using open tools for creating and managing information.

For Next Time

I would like you to make sure that you have gone over the tutorials that I mentioned last time on your own.Orsini, Lauren. “GitHub For Beginners (Part 1): Don’t Get Scared, Get Started.” ReadWrite. Last modified September 30, 2013.

Orsini, Lauren. “GitHub For Beginners (Part 2): Commit, Push And Go.” ReadWrite. Last modified October 2, 2013.

By the end of this week, you will know how to build a website from only plaintext files. We will do this using GitHub Pages, the hosting service built into GitHub for projects and professional sites.

In the next session, we will learn how to create pull request in order to post to a blog and also fork a web theme to get started working on your websites. The rest of this week and one day next week will be devoted to web documents, markup, and publishing information online.

We will start the next session by looking at the code that makes websites work.

Open Source - July 3, 2017 -