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By Steve
Keith, to be honest I don't quite know what to reply - maybe read my post again? :-? I never said that the world can't be changed, but the way I understand it this thread is about making a website that will help ideas and inventions prosper (taking into account current reality, as the website will have to exist in it). Not about starting a revolution to overturn current law or capitalistic structures. (If you're into the latter, I may be with you, but in this thread it seems slightly off topic. ;-) )

In the world I live in, inventors contact manufacturers because they simply don't have the $$$ to fund manufacturing and marketing of their inventions. Most companies will only jump on the train when they are granted a certain exclusivity to the product (patent or not) - that will limit the risk of investment, because it will buy the company time to break even. (Same with books by the way, if you grant ten publishers the right to publish it, chances are that *nobody* will do it.) So when the inventor doesn't bring the right for the invention (because he doesn't own it), the company will likely shy away from the investment. Result: no product. Not sure what's apologetic about that. 8-o Problems can be overcome - but the first step is to acknowledge, not to ignore them.

Just look at the five most recent ideas on the site. *None* of them can be built by the average Joe. After answering numerous unsolved questions and overcoming technical hurdles, they need to be produced in a factory. Open source communities typically don't run factories, so you'll need a manufacturer. So we're heading for the capitalistic production process, which means that in the end, the product won't be free anymore. I don't see any way around this, because these are tangible products which actually cost money to produce (unlike open source software which can be copied with the touch of a button). If the end user wouldn't pay, somebody else would have to.

So if my theory isn't flawed, then the community effort would have to exclude production. That however would violate the wiki/open source idea, because someone else would make money off the group work by selling it (that is, if it doesn't just sit there because nobody can gain exclusive rights). And once *someone* makes money anyway, I wonder why the guys who actually contributed to the invention are excluded. If I'd be contributing to such a site, I'd feel exploited. :-?
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By Keith
The open source community do have factories:

And they are doing good works... well, besides the ocasional pink key-chain. ;)

I feel, as this article addresses, all you need is replication or a way to produce peoples ideas... i.e The Sowing Machine is a great example of users being able to make their own open idea products (quilt patterns, dolls, clothes, you name it) and make/sell it on their own.

Cooking could also be considered the same way... Open recipies have existed for centuries. My mother recently published a cook-book as a fundraiser for the college she works at. Staff, teachers, and culinary students all donaited their recipe ideas. Were they "exploited" when the book was sold? .... I'd say No.
In fact, everyone at the college feels wonderful that not only were their ideas (and names) immortalized in a book, but they were contibuting to something that was more than themselves (even though the school was making all the profit).

The point is not to start a revolution or to become 'communist'. But for people to be able to share information freely (and build and sell those ideas).

If a venture capitalist takes a hair-brained idea and runs with it with lots of risks, more power to him, will it happen? probably not, but for the average joe to be able to widdle something up on their own, now that is just priceless.

Remember, some licenses (UGPL, Creative Commons, LGPL) all allow selling of works. But only under the condition of the original author.

Now for me to stay on topic, Wiki's are a great source for "Public Domain Design" (catchy title eh? :D ) ... they allow collaboration, on a grand user scale (but lack a license/patent/etc all together). Hehehe, kinda like the pool. :)

And in the end, i think it depends on how active a user base there is (that is knowledgable) to make it work. Otherwise you end up with the Flame Broil-Thrower idea that nobody wants to make or use (which is probably VERY unsafe). :-B
Why did I have to be born an idealist? ;)
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By Steve
Keith wrote:The open source community do have factories:

Nice link. Ok, I'm slowly biting. :-b

Assuming that I am correct and the fact that they can't obtain exclusive rights will keep big companies from jumping on the bandwagon - for the model you are describing that may actually be a good thing, because it would make sure that the findings are more or less "reserved" for the smaller fish. ;-D

Speaking of "communist" - one thing that didn't work so well in communism is the fact that people received little personal gratification for their achievement, which ultimately reduced their motivation. I've noticed what people want most when they submit an idea to the Creativity Pool is credit/recognition (and you've also mentioned it in your cookbook example). I wonder how this would play out when inventing things in an anonymous group. Doing something and then donating it to the world as a present from *me* is one thing, but getting lost in the mass of contributers might be another one.

Anyway... ever since globalization hit, I've always waited for the masses of people who lost their jobs to create their own culture, with means of trade and production that bypass the classical structures we got so used to. This might in fact be the way it goes. :-?
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By Steve
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