Fwd: [rohrpost] Open Source Novel by Douglas Rushkoff

Krystian Woznicki krystian@snafu.de
Fri, 13 Jul 2001 18:44:59 +0200


nachfolgend die vollstaendige Version des Guardian-Artikels,
um DRs Sicht der Dinge vielleicht etwas besser
herauszuarbeiten. Voranzustellen waere noch,
dass es ja tatsaechlich nur um einen kleinen
Teil geht, der modifizierbar ist (Fussnoten) -
der Begriff OS-Novel demnach auch in diesem
Sinne missverstaendlich ist.



- http://www.berlinergazette.de

 >Amateurs Once More< by Douglas Rushkoff

The internet is for amateurs. No =AD that=B9s not an insult, but high=
=8CAmateurs,=B9 by definition, do what they do for the love of it. Because=
fun, social, enriching, transformational, evolutionary, or even just
beautiful. Now that the investment community sees the net is seen as more of
a lame duck than a cash cow, the only ones left out here (or the only ones
that should be) are us amateurs.

How dare I raise myself to the same level as amateurs? I get paid for most
of what I do online. Doesn=B9t this make me a lowly professional? I say=
The point is to do what we do online because we love it =AD whether or not
someone agrees to pay us. Anything done in this very transparent medium for
any other reason gets exposed. It=B9s as if the more active mindset we use=
navigate internet allows us to detect the intentions of its many posters and
publishers. If there=B9s no real passion for anything but revenue, we know=
We can smell it.

But maybe some of us have our BS detectors on too high. So much of the
online space is basically a business plan of one kind or another, that we
don=B9t expect any =8Cprofessional=B9 effort to have amateur roots. This is=
shame. And I=B9ve gotten a taste of it, first-hand.
I=B9m in the process of releasing my book, =8CExit Strategy,=B9 online as an=
source novel. (It=B9s already been published as printed novel, =8CBull,=B9=
 in the
UK.) It=B9s going up on Yahoo Internet Life=B9s web site
(www.yil.com/exitstrategy) in 14 weekly installments. The story I wrote is
merely the starting place for what I hope will be a lively interaction
between everyone.

The premise is that the entire text was written in present day, but then
hidden online and only discovered 200 years from now. Because society has
changed so much, an anthropologist has annotated the text for his 23rd
Century contemporaries. They are no longer familiar with notions such as
venture capital or advertising, much less Microsoft or NASDAQ.

The project is =8Copen source=B9 in that all the online participants get to=
their own footnotes to anything in the book =AD even footnotes to the
footnotes. It=B9s a way to pretend how people from the future will relate to
our current obsessions. Instead of describing that future, though, we get to
suggest what it will be like by highlighting the facts and ideas that future
readers *won=B9t* understand. We=B9ll all be part of the annotation process,=
comment on one another=B9s work. Then next year, I=B9ll release an open=
edition of the text =AD an e-book and print-on-demand - with 100 of the most
compelling footnotes added by readers. I=B9ll buy the authors copies of the
book, and throw them a party in New York.

But how do you feel right now reading about this? Are you thinking,
=8CRushkoff=B9s got a good idea, there,=B9 or are you thinking =8Chow dare=
promote his online scam in his column!=B9 And there=B9s the problem. It=B9s=
 why I
wrote the book, actually, and it=B9s the challenge I=B9m facing in talking=
it with the press.

The journalists who have interviewed me about the open source project, with
very few exceptions, can=B9t see it as anything but a covert business plan.
They find it hard to believe that no one is paying me for the web project,
or that people will really be able to read the entire book, online, for
free. They think there must be a catch. Why would a successful author bother
to distribute his work online for free when he could get real money for it
in print? Even Stephen King charged money for his online works (and then
quit before he was done).

It=B9s precisely because I=B9m a successful author that I can release a book=
free. I=B9ve got a roof over my head and another proposal under my arm. I=
make a living even if I give away a book or two along the way. And, if we
really want to play =8Cname my business plan,=B9 my guess is that the final
print-on-demand version of the open source book will do just fine, thank you
(even though, so far, no traditional US publisher has dared to make an offer
on a book that will be released, for free, online before it is released in

So, if you need a market justification for what I=B9m doing =AD with my book=
with this column =AD use that one. But you=B9ll be missing the point of=
The interactive mediaspace is offering us something so much more precious
than profit, and more authentic than authorship. It=B9s an opportunity to=
and collaborate. That=B9s the theme of my book, the reason it=B9s going=
and the reason I=B9m telling you about it here: because people are so=
to associate the internet with business plans that they can=B9t think of the
internet any other way, even though the speculators have all set sail. Alas,
it=B9s a troubling legacy they=B9ve left in their wake.

We=B9ve forgotten what made this medium so truly sexy to begin with. But=
worry, we still have it in our power to be reborn as unqualified amateurs.
Then we can fall in love all over again.

At 12:30 13.07.01 +0200, you wrote:
>Am Fri, 13.Jul.2001 um 11:12:08 +0200 schrieb Krystian Woznicki:
> > Hallo,
> >
> > hier der Link zu meiner just erschienenen Diskussion dieses Projekts
> >
> > http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/buch/9069/1.html
>Du schreibst es im letzten Absatz des Artikels, aber man k=F6nnte die=
>noch h=E4rter formulieren: Rushkoffs Buch hat mit "Open Source" nichts,
>aber auch gar nichts zu tun au=DFer der Buzzword-Kompatibilit=E4t. Rushkoff
>scheint "Open Source" gr=FCndlich mi=DFverstanden zu haben.
>"Open Source" ist keine Entwicklungsmethode und sagt daher nichts
>dar=FCber aus, ob Software offen oder geschlossen - von Individuen
>oder exklusiven Zirkeln - geschrieben wird. Neben solcher Software,
>die relativ offen entwickelt wird wie z.B. der Linux-Kernel oder die
>Debian-Distribution, gibt es auch "Open Source"/Freie Software von
>geschlossenen Entwicklerteams, so z.B. XFree86, Free/NetBSD und die
>meisten GNU-Programme.
>"Open Source" bzw. "Freie Software" ist de jure ein =DCberbegriff f=FCr
>Software-Lizenzen, die den Nutzern weitgehende Freiheiten einr=E4umen:
>1. Die Freiheit, eine Software beliebig und kostenfrei zu kopieren;
>2. Die Freiheit, den Quellcode der Software einzusehen, zu kopieren
>    und zu modifizieren;
>3. Die Freiheit der kommerziellen und nichtkommerziellen Distribution,
>    verbunden mit der Pflicht, keine Nutzergruppen (z.B. Firmen,
>    aber auch z.B. das Milit=E4r) auszuschlie=DFen.
>Formal sind diese Freiheiten in der "Open Source
>Definition" der Open Source Initiative festgeschrieben
><http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.html>. Rushkoff erw=E4hnt an
>keiner Stelle, unter welcher Lizenz die kollektiven Fu=DFnoten seines
>Romans gestellt werden sollen. Die Open Source Initiative sollte
>handeln und Rushkoff dazu auffordern, dies entweder im Sinne der Open
>Source Definition zu pr=E4zisieren oder aber das Attribut "Open Source"
>zu streichen.
>Der Name "Open Source" ist, wie ich finde, schon unpr=E4zise genug und
>birgt zahlreiche Verwechselungspotentiale: mit offenen Standards, mit
>frei einsehbaren, aber propriet=E4r lizenziertem Quellcode und nun auch
>mit offenen Entwicklungsprozessen. Gedankenlose Appropriationen =E0 la
>Rushkoff verw=E4ssern ihn v=F6llig und tragen damit dazu bei, da=DF=
>Lizenzierungsmodelle wie Microsofts "Shared Source" oder Suns "Community
>Source" k=FCnftig unwidersprochen auch als "Open Source" firmieren.
>GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3D0DACA2