When I lived in Austin, the phrase “Keep Austin Weird” meant to me that Austin was special in a weird, quirky way. And I feel that way about open source, because as a means for expressing one’s self, there’s a project for everything. Seriously, open source hardware is branching into everything from prosthetics, clothing, and drones to dead cats.
But some open source projects lose steam and people drift away to look for the next new thing. What keeps open source projects alive? My guess is that it’s the coolness factor, how popular or well known it is, the interdependence and cross-pollination with other projects, and the overall usefulness across a wide group of people. Open source hardware used with other open source projects has the capability to affect our world in a large way. Through the Internet, open source allows human race to cooperate like so many ants. Data is collected with projects of mass participation, such as the Arduino-based Smart Citizen kit or as in open source beehives, where hardware designs for sensor-enhanced, intelligent beehives are published in an attempt to better understand why bees are disappearing worldwide. Open source makes it possible for people to step up and fix things and find like-minded people who want to accomplish similar goals. I believe that people are basically good, and that open source cannot be made specifically for propagating evil (but I guess that depends on your definition of evil.)
Lynnette Reese holds a B.S.E.E from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Lynnette has worked at Mouser Electronics, Texas Instruments, Freescale (now NXP), and Cypress Semiconductor. Lynnette has three kids and occasionally runs benign experiments on them. She is currently saving for the kids’ college and eventual therapy once they find out that cauliflower isn’t a rare albino broccoli (and other white lies.)
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