What is the imagine that comes first to your mind reading the title above? In my case, the few times I happened to think about this concept I imagined (yeah I know it’s silly) the desperate representative of the finance department of a huge Software company. Hmmm even better I have an imagine that I can easily share with you.
Did you happened to encounter maybe those series of photographs realized in the UK in the ’90 with people holding random statements? So, if you didn’t, opensource is my reason to share one of them with you.
Here it is. I realized that this is the only piece of information my brain wants to share back with me when asking him ‘so open source?’. Bizarre ehh?
This simple information exchange made me wonder unavoidably about the identity of the desperate guy from my imagination. Does he really exist? Who really loses from the implementation of open source? Or better, what I really ended up wondering, is who gains and what?
Curiously enough, while wondering, it happened to me to encounter the EUROSHA project. That’s also the moment when my brain happened to be forced to add some other colors and subjects to the ‘open source’ concept. What if ’open source’ can even have some unexpected conceptual friends? Curious couple came out then of this new discovery: ‘open source’ and ‘humanitarian aid’. Speaking honestly it was pretty hard for me to imagine those two together. I mean humanitarian aid has as aim giving things to people in need right? What does open source has to offer in such relationship?
A lot, as I happened to discover during this initial part of my participation in this project. More concretely, what makes me predict happy conjugal life to this couple are its methods of operation. In my attempt to convince you that there could be some logic in this hypothetical happy marriage I give you example suggested by the World Wide Web (you just couldn’t deny the authority of the source ehh?).
‘In production and development, open source is a philosophy, or pragmatic methodology that promotes free redistribution and access to an end product’s design and implementation details. The open-source model includes the concept of concurrent yet different agendas and differing approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in commercial software companies.A main principle and practice of open-source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product, source-material, “blueprints”, and documentation available at no cost to the public.’ Raymond, Eric S. The Cathedral and the Bazaar. ed. 2000
Interestingly, in most of the available definition of open source we encounter concepts such as ‘free redistribution and access to an end product’s design’, ‘differing approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of development’, etc. So you can imagine my surprise when I realized that I use the same mental approach and even verbal formulation, when I think about development and the role of Humanitarian Aid. Somehow words referring to a software came to overlap with the role (in my vision) that the cooperation in the humanitarian field should look like. I’ll have here to use a word that was probably used million of times with million of nuances in the meaning and somehow it’s part of that category of concepts which destiny has been to be ’used and abused’ until their final appearance as shallow an vacuous. So, the word I’m so afraid to use is sustainable. However, I use it in this case because it really seems to me as the only one adequate enough to explain this common characteristics of ‘open source’ and humanitarian aid approaches aiming to privilege the cooperation and the good integration of the projects within the local environment respecting its particularity and the possible capacities it can offer.