My name is Andrae Muys.
I am a consultant computer engineer specialising in RDF and emerging programming language technologies and (sporadically) maintain a blog on these (admittably specialised and technical) topics at http://etymon.blogspot.com.
I have been an active member of the FOSS community for 11 years, and active on usenet and other internet social forums for 13.
In the spirit of the feedback from the first week:
- I am fascinated by the concept of an truely open university course on the topologies, emergent properties, and social norms of the communities I have spent over a decade participating in.
- My only concern is that in the excitement of using the latest wizzbang internet technologies we may miss the more fundamental principles that have been long established in communities built around older, less visually impressive, technologies.
- It is no longer credible to ask the question "can a collaborative encyclopedia succeed?", or "is collaboratively developed software sustainable?". Wikipedia and Linux/Apache/gcc are existence proofs for their respective propositions.
- Wikipedia is approaching *1.4 million* articles, with an accuracy that only the gold-standard of traditional encylopedias Britannica can challange.
- Apache runs ~62% of websites on the net, a dominance that has never been challanged by any compeditor in the last decade.
- Linux just celebrated its 15th birthday and runs an estimated 24% of all domains on the net, more than any other OS.
- The Gnu C Compiler is particularly applicable. Compilers form some of the most complex software engineering projects a development team can undertake. GCC is 19 years old, and the most successful compiler ever written. The standard distribution supports 7 different languages on 21 different architectures.
- The real questions of interest are no longer associated with feasibility or sustainability, but with the mechanisms, strengths, weaknesses, costs and benefits of the distributed modes of production that developed these products.