Apropos Open Source Methodologies
When we first started to circulate the call for taxi-to-praxi some of the reactions which I got in private email were of the kind "open source methodology, what's that supposed to be?" - "there is no such things", " etc. Since that moment I thought aha, we are on to something and I should write something about it. This is now not the all conclusive article, but a forum posting, improvised and unfinished.
It would be easy now to come up with references to the so called "hacker ethics". you can get the basic idea from this wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic
However, although there is an overlap, the hacker ethics and open source methodologies are quite different things. By using the term open source methodologies I imply that this is something that goes beyong the narrow confines of computer software development, that these are methodologies (I quite deliberately use the plural here) which can be applied in reesearch as well as creative processes. It is maybe more closely connected to 'peer based commons production' a term coined by Yochai Benkler (cf. The Wealth of Networks) than hacking per se
Thus, without trying to be normative, nor prescriptive, nor complete, I would say an open source methodology can be something where
* you would lay open the assumptions which go into the formulation of your thesis or research subject as much as you are aware that there are assumptions
* you would rather than making references because you have to or because you feel you are supposed to be quite happy to reference anything that informs your work, people who helped you, ideas and influences, work done by others, etc.
* you would be happy to discuss your work in suitable public fora without fear of your ideas being stolen (because you trust that you can realise your idea still and if somebody share an interest maybe you can work together)
* you, despite the fervour with which you defend your thesis, are keeping an open mind to the possibility that you are wrong and have to start completely afresh and maybe turn around your mind 180 degrees, you are not just waiting for that person to show up but actively try to assume that other viewpoint
Whereas those points so far have something to do with opennness, I think there are other aspects which have more to do with freedom and autonomy. An open source methodology can also mean that you are seeking to
* preserve an open working space which implies a certain ethical behaviour in relation to the tools that you use and the ways that you communicate what you do;
*choose tools which allow your work to be accessed by as many people as possible
* publish your work in such a way that it does not get locked into some proprietary structrue which takes it away from public scrutiny
And while you are doing all that you would try to answer questions, read the fine manuals, stay economic with words, and be measured with your paprika when you cook open source gulash.