Over the last few weeks, I've been on a bit of a Cory Doctorow kick. I started by reading Homeland, a sequel to the excellent Little
Brother; these two very
important books about anti-terror-enabled government suppression of
liberty and free speech are very well written and extremely timely. I
then moved on to For the Win, a
somewhat more mediocre book about unionizing and gold farming; and I
just finished Makers, a truly
visionary if somewhat halting story about people who Make Stuff, and
their battles with more traditional corporations.
(All of these books are freely available for e-book download, and are
also available off of Amazon. I would start with Little Brother as it is very approachable,
well written, and all too realistic.)
Whence the title of this post?
I was reading Makers while I was at
the workshop on Cyberinfrastructure for Marine 'Omics, and it took me a
few days to realize that my mental landscape had been seriously warped
by Makers (in a good way)! I think much of my grumpiness about our
current models of software development and funding came from the
juxtaposition of the very bottom-up, creativity driven,
many-resources-are -essentially-free world of Makers -- which works --
and the traditional academic approach of Big Software Projects -- for
which there is strong evidence that it does not work that well. Whoa,
major cognitive dissonance: here I am, an increasingly card-carrying
member of the Big Projects club, reading a very plausible book about
how I am a dinosaur.
That recognition is one strong motivation for the post Crowdsourced
Even if the first 10 versions of the pipeline kinda suck, incremental
improvements via a true, forkable open source development model
virtually guarantee that at some point it will stop sucking. If,
as I am hoping to do with khmer, we can bring the compute costs closer
to zero, we will have eliminated the only major barrier other than
creativity and good science. Worth a shot, eh?
Anyway, just thought I'd share.
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