Open Mind. Open Source.

Priyanshu Mishra

FTOBS - Freedom, Transparency and Openness beyond Software

Submitted Feb 4, 2024

Applying the lessons and values of FOSS beyond just software

I propose a collective discussion around the theme. It shall include interactive weighing of existing sources of inspiration, discussion of ideas ranging any aspect of the theme, debates, critical analyses, brainstorming, etc. It may also involve surveys, analyses, ideas, talking-points etc crafted by individuals and groups, that are then interacted with by the participants.
All of it may be coordinated in a self-hosted forum, to ensure everyone has a chance to voice their view. That shall also allow an early start (and continuation beyond the event!) of the good stuff!
To supplement the core discussions, I would be curating relevant information in the form of writeups, easily referenceable distillation of relevant information, and a small talk ensuring a common starting ground.

The effort is hoped to spark inspiration in the minds of the participants to critically analyze what makes FOSS vital at the first place, to be creative at applying it beyond mainstream domains, etc. It may also be a precursor to catalyzing equitability (and other perks of the FOSS ideology) in all areas of human conduct!

Hopefully the collective work could also be summarized and distilled for public view and benefit, after the timeline of the event. It may also be be continued to be iterated on if things are promising enough.

(Some) Aspects of FTOBS:
  • distillation of core philosophies and characteristics of FOSS

    • freedom
    • transparency
    • distribution over centralization
      • removal of single points of failure
    • open-collaboration
  • scrutiny of the ideals

  • distillation of praxis

  • domains to apply the values and lessons to (and how to)

    • candidate areas (and a rough selection of especially relevant values):
      • business (open-governance, open-collaboration, transparency)
      • finance and budgeting of large/influential entities (transparency - opening up to scrutiny?)
      • governace (distributed-governance?, transparency, openness, open-collaboration)
      • research (every FOSS value!)
      • journalism (transparency, distributed verification of facts, consideration of multiple perspectives, making robust against influence by strong-parties)
      • education (every FOSS value!)
      • engineering (every FOSS value!)
      • open hardware
      • communication networks
        • distribution of networks, more control and freedom to the people
      • ... open to brainstorms!
  • analysis of pros and cons in each context

  • analysis and brainstorming of how to make stuff work in each context

A rough outline of the proposed format

  • a (very) short talk, introducing the core concepts
    • the latter shall be available to view ahead of time
  • short demonstrations to exemplify brainstorming and analysis!
    • impromptu, real time
  • and then multiple discussion sessions
    • involving debates, coordinated talking points, interactive discussions
    • of works individuals and groups do around the theme, beforehand!
      • some examples (agnostic of presentation format, inviting creativity!):
        • analysis of specific ideological aspects of FOSS
        • surveys of existing efforts around a given characteristic
        • surverys of given contexts
        • objective evaluations of pros and cons
      • could involve anything context-specific or general, lying in the vast space of sides to making FTOBS a defunct term (which would happen when the values are rather default!)

I would require lots of help (and feedback!) if this is to be pulled off. That would include refining the outline, help with the logistics, help with coordinating community interaction, etc. In case the proposal is accepted, and parallely it sounds interesting to you, (be it as much as wanting to collaborate at organizing it, or just to dicuss about), please reach out through comments!


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