Ning Network, Open Source and Hegel

The Lumpen Institute of Fine Arts is a social network on for friends who share my interest in politics and art. It has also proved to be a good example for my clients who need a network site. Ning is similar to Facebook. For example, Steve Brodner uses it for his illustration class at SVA and my son-in-law uses it for organizing his companions on their trek up Mount Rainier. (No links to either of those as they are private.) I am blogging about it here because I have found many clients and associates to be unaware of And because I just made a post there.

Like Facebook, is free. That’s not quite the same as Open Source but it is all part of the the “the new economy.” That’s a loaded phrase, but yes, the internet is changing our culture, including how we do business. I am fascinated with this change. I am part of it and trust my posts here are informative to clients and visitors about how that affects our shared interests.

Most of my website design for the past two years has been done using WordPress software as a CMS–content management system. WordPress is Open Source. (This last link will take you to Wikipedia–also Open Source.) Its advantages and disadvantages effect my designs. Go to Is Open Source a New Economic Paradigm? if this interests you. I will make updates about economics and philosophy there and about how it affects my design and my clients here.

• The April Wired magazine cover story How the Tablet Will Change the World has a pant load of information about our changing computer culture. Steven Levy outlines the brewing battle between Apple’s proprietary OS and Google’s open source Android. Nice sidebar touch has “13 of the brightest tech minds sound off on the rise of the tablet.” (Side note: I first read this in the magazine print edition. The design is vastly superior to the online version. Last week it was announce that Wired won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ award for Best Design.)

Open vs. Closed: What Does Open Really Mean? on the Gigaom blog delves into the definition  of  “open” as it applies to standards, systems, platforms, software and technology. Matthew Ingram concludes, “Who is open where it really matters, as opposed to just being open where it’s convenient or low-risk? Who can convince users, developers and — most importantly — advertisers and other businesses to join their open or closed platform?”

The Business Lessons Behind Commercial Open Source from Sam Dean at

Pot, meet kettle: a response to Steve Jobs’ letter on Flash By John Sullivan on Ars Technica

self portrait
self portrait

UPDATES 8.12.10: Evan Blackford sent this link… It has excellant insight and historical notes about Open Source.

1 Response

  1. Mr Ken,

    Great post, and I’m looking forward to learning more about this from you. As for Mozilla’s Firefox’s business model, (which is a non-profit, I believe) I seem to remember reading that they get a lot of revenue from an affiliate partnership with Google, where they default new user’s homepages to a Firefox-branded Google search page. And I believe also the Google search field on the upper right is there by default, and yields a bunch of money. If I am not mistaken, this is a fairly common open source model, and one of the more successful implementations.

    For our advanced open-source seminar, I suggest a bit of homework: what makes the Ogg Theora video codec open source, who paid those guys to do all that work (if anyone), and what makes h.264 not open source (who pays to use it, and how?), and what are the ramifications of Google announcing a pending “open sourcing” of the VP8 video codec? And what does all this have to do with HTML5?

    Here’s a handy link to help us all in our homework:

    And here are a couple of handy links from GigaOM (my favorite blog other than this one) in addition to the one you mentioned above, from their ongoing Open vs. Closed series:

    Open vs. Closed: In the Ongoing Battle Over Control, How Much Is Too Much?

    Open vs. Closed: Why Open Standards Matter

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