The Year of Living Freely

I thought I had seen the weirdest appropriation of the term “open source” when I first heard about open source yoga.  But with this latest development, “open source” seems to be going the way of “green” — being assimilated from a moderately useful term into a pure marketing buzzword with no meaning whatsoever except for the promotional value people choose to make of it.

The article says, “Berlin-based filmmaker Sam Muirhead is abandoning all copyrighted products and switching to Open Source software, hardware, and services for one year, as the subject of his own series of online documentary videos.”  (I am now pondering what open source services are — but perhaps they include some forms of yoga.)

It may be possible to avoid all use of proprietary software.  There are many people who make it a point to do this already, of course.  I think it would be interesting to see a film — or at least a white paper — about that.  It would be interesting to see what proprietary software is still clearly the cheaper/better/faster choice, in this age of LAMP stacks and Sourceforge.  I also like the idea that we should all be willing to eat our own dog food.  

Admittedly, Mr. Muirhead seems to recognize that his use of “open source” is broad, and describes what he is doing as using “the shariest option.”  He will reportedly be “avoiding food grown from copyrighted seed strains.”   Before he tries “DIY dentistry, for example, or Open Source contraception” I would like to point out that engaging in DIY dentistry may very well obviate the need for open source contraception.

Some of the reporting on this is particularly amusing due to its high bizarre-o world factor.  For instance, “Open source housing is one of the problems, he noted, adding that he already found an open source house made by someone in Berlin. However, the house is only one cubic meter in size.” Not scalable, I guess.  And “‘Berlin is the perfect city for a project such as this,’ he said. ‘This would not be possible in New Zealand.'” I had no idea New Zealanders were so…proprietary?  Or of physical proportions incapable of fitting in a house of one cubic meter?

Presumably he will be releasing his documentary under CC-BY-SA.

You can contribute to the crowd-sourcing of his documentary here.  I have to confess I was tempted to contribute when lured with the promise of an “open source swimsuit calendar” for a $25 donation.  It will include drawings of “open source heroes and heroines.”  On on the other hand, perhaps not.