jump to navigation

Open-source software for the digital world March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
trackback

In a new knowledge-sharing era, Greeks join millions globally who are writing programs and posting them for free on the Internet

In Greece there are already more than 8,000 volunteers working on open-source software. ‘They want to contribute to something democratic that helps develop a shared, public digital infrastructure,’ Karounos says.

Millions of volunteers all over the world are building a network for the new digital era. More than 10 million volunteers around the world are writing programs and posting them for free on the Internet.

“From the very beginning, the Internet was based on volunteers and open-source software that could be further developed,” says Thodoros Karounos, coordinator of the team making a Greek version of the $100 computer. “It’s not new. This is how knowledge grows, through communication and cooperation. Even Newton said he rose high because he stood on the shoulders of giants.”

“The development of knowledge, particularly in the digital age, is connected to the free movement of ideas, and not with patents and the ownership of information,” he says. These ideas have inspired the volunteer movement on the Internet.

What will be the common public infrastructure of the digital age? “Today it is roads, tomorrow it will be the Internet, which must be free and shared,” said Karounos. “The underlying idea behind digital volunteerism derives from the English commons, the shared fields.”

In Greece there are already more than 8,000 volunteers working on open-source software, and their number multiplies every year as more people use the Internet and acquire broadband connections. There are approximately 2,500 people hooked up to the Greek open-software community (http://www.open-source.gr/ and http://www.ellak.gr/) while many thousands more work independently or in other groups.

Volunteers are the rule rather than the exception, with a network of people behind every activity. For instance, one community (www.athenswireless.net) is making Athens the world capital of wireless Internet. Other individuals, such as educators in the provinces, are working alone to spread the use of the Internet.

In an age where everything is for sale, digital volunteers may seem like naive romantics or people who are easily exploited. But they feel as if they are pioneers of a new era, not only on the Internet but also in every aspect of life.

%d bloggers like this: