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Non-Technical Projects Using Open-Source Methodologies? 10

handspring_cjf asks: "I'm doing some work on non-technical projects: organizations/companies that are using the ideals that originated with the Open Source movement in the commercial/non-profit marketplace. So far, I've come up with the OpenLaw project at Harvard Uni, but that seems to be the only big one that I can find. I'm sure that there are others out there that I don't know about. Any help that people could offer would be greatly appreciated."
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Non-Technical Projects Using Open-Source Methodologies?

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  • There's Open Music (Score:2, Interesting)

    by epsalon ( 518482 )

    The same rules of open source, applied to music.

    The works are licensed under the Open audio license [eff.org]. There is a listing of open music works available here [openmusicregistry.org].
  • I work in a doctor's office. We routinely deal with hundreds of insurance companies, each with their own rules. These rules change about as often as Microsoft API.

    Once a week, the billing staff has a meeting. Anything about any insurance company is discussed. Changes must be accompanied by an idea of how to respond (a bug report must contain proposal for new code) and one person decides what change to adopt (one person has CVS commit rights). Heck, for that matter, the analogy can be extended further, as we will sometimes allow one or two people to do something a little different (AC kernel?) before deciding if that is the right path to take.

    When all is done, it is written down, so that others (who missed the meeting, join the staff later, etc) can get on the same page.

    And like most coding documentation, it's a bit behind and somewhat half-assed.

  • There is an (inactive) HR Open Source Project

    http://www.lrims.com/Policyhome.htm

    Hey, copy n paste. Life is to short to mess with html tags.
  • There is a really good attempt to build a collaborative, volunteer, peer-reviewed, open, free (both senses) encyclopedia at www.nupedia.org [nupedia.org]
  • Wizards of the Coast (aka TSR) has their d20 Open Gaming [wizards.com] system, covered by the Open Gaming License. It looks like it is turning out better than a lot of critics thought it would.
  • If you consider "non-technical" to mean "not creating a piece of software or hardware", then the Open Directory Project [dmoz.org] should count. Like Yahoo's directories, but maintained by volunteers, uses peer review, and the resulting data is useable by anyone under the Free Use License [dmoz.org].

  • Not forgetting of course OpenCola [opencola.com] - I gotta make me some of that!
  • There are some -- dmoz.org, open encyclopedia projects, project Gutenberg and others. But software development is different from most other human activities in a way that makes it more suitable for open-source style development and cooperation.
    1. Software is almost completely technical (as opposed to artistic). This means that it's easier to accept others modifying your work, improving it and using parts of it in their own work. It's also easier to cooperate over the Internet with people you don't know. This is not the case with art, music, litterature etc.
    2. Software is completely digital. All you need is a computer to develop and use software. You can share information about anything over the net -- tips, blue prints, recipies etc, but you can't share the end product. You can share and help improve cookie recipies over the Internet, but you can't share the actual cookies.
    This doesn't mean that you can't collaborate over the internet on artistic or non-digital projects, just not in the same way as open source software. But I think it's hard for other types of projects to be as successful.
  • Are there any companies or organizations that people know of that are using the Open Source model? If I'm not mistaken, most of the examples that were given, while helpful, are just sorta "projects" that don't make money (for profit or not-for-profit) in any way. I could be wrong. But everything that you suggested is very helpful, thank you.

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