The view from where we are

Welcome here! This site is musings and perusings of Lee Alley as an Anglo-American in London.

Living the open source life

You'll have heard much about open source and open standard technologies. The productivity gains from IBM and Microsoft creating an open-standard personal computer, revolutionizing industry and more have been huge from the 1990s onwards. Since the advent of relatively cheap Intel chips running on standard harware, MS-DOS and Windows 3.1, Lotus 1-2-3 (the real original killer app), MS Word all cut the time to produce information by orders of magnitude.

The information revolution didn't end there. After the computing revolution that produced information in a digital form, the next big one was disseminating it widely. Cue opening up the internet to public usage including affordable, consumer, the world wide web and access to the world's public information at one's fingertips.

In the background to all of that was the formal open source software movement revolving around Unix then BSD, then later the Linux free software ecosystems. Webservers, routers, firewalls and then supercomputers, "cloud-based" services and so forth all ran on these OSs. The Netscape and Mozilla browsers, Thunderbird email, Apache webserver software then Drupal, Wordpress and Joomla web content management systems and so, so much more software than can be recounted here was all hacked, released and provided for free to those who could put it to good use.

And that's the key - all this and so much more is out there, available and ready for good use if you know what you're doing. Same goes with life - we call it open source living - ways of living life, and life more abundantly, are available, for free, if you know how.

Some people have connections to get things done for them; others have the money to hire people to do this. Many don't have either of those, however, and very importantly, don't need them; the know-how is out there and can save a fortune over the years for those who do things for themselves.

It's a shibboleth that economies of scale come from purchasing goods and services with money earned by working at a specialisation and this means everyone gets richer. We believe there are cases where the connection between the two is breaking down and we have theories as to why this is, but in the meantime we want to share ways we know about to live better, cheaper and more abundantly than ever.

For the record, everything from the PC upon which this content of this site is created and managed, to the server it's on, are all Free and Open-source (FOSS) software.

The commentary is informed by work done on four continents, through direct experience of two of the major land wars of recent times, and working for, and with, some of the biggest and some of the most innovative companies and organizations in the world today (usually, but not always, mutually exclusive categories).

If you have an opinion about the content you want to share, please feel free to say so in the contact form below. We hope you enjoy the site, are informed by it or connected to something because of it, but if you are only compelled to think deeply about something we will be overjoyed that you will have paid us the ultimate compliment. Welcome here!