For the week's assignment, I was asked to develop a dissemination plan for my final project. I'll try to explain my vision for open-source hardware and software, and why I find them absolutely necessary.
Grow an audience
I think one of the characteristics of a good project is that it spreads by itself. Explaining your project to your peers will allow them, if they find it as interesting as you think it is, to spread it into their circle. This will indirectly expand your audience.
If your local audience isn't responsive to your project, find another place to talk about it. Internet is filled with tiny niches that could extend your message. Mastodon, for example, is a decentralized social network full of interesting people who believe in alternative networks and open-source projects. This could be a great place to start growing your audience.
Show the process
But once the audience grows, you need the right tools to maintain it, cultivate it. For me, the tools to achieve this are intangible:
- an honest speech
- a transparent process
- clear intentions
I don't think an audience can last if it was built on bad marketing decisions or for the sole purpose of enriching the founder of the project. A new project can only find its natural place if its message is honest (why does the project exist?), its intentions are honest (what is the project for?) and if the process is transparent (how will the project be in the future?).
Free the sources
The world is changing, so our way of disseminating projects too. I don't believe in a future where people will continue to trust big corporations to do everything for them. I want to believe that we have reached a peak in the history of globalization and that we are now going back to localization, and therefore to the locally produced product.
To enable people to produce their goods locally, the sources must be shared and the manufacturing process explained and documented.
Choose a license
I think we should all be able to share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and adapt (remix, transform and build upon the material) whatever we use while still giving the credits appropriate and retaining the same license as the original, as long as it is intended for non-commercial use. This is the BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.
Choosealicense.com is a good start to choose the right license for an open-source project.
About potential incomes
As Yuval Noah Harari discusses in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, we all become experts in the tasks we are good at. We specialize in a specific area and then trade our expertise with someone else's.
As a designer/maker/developer (choose whichever you prefer), I think that I'm good at creating tailer-made solutions. Thinking about a problem, solving it, then sharing my solution with others so that they don't have to go through the same process and can jump straight to their very specific problem. I like the idea of doing projects that fill a gap a community may have.
Once a project is done for a specific community, it is important to me to release all the produced work and to make it accessible to other communities, to extend the reach of the project, to allow other people benefit from it.
Then, if a specific group of people requests a defined functionality that is missing from the previously done project, or asks to build the project around another specific use: Perfect! Be there, ready to help them, and ask to trade your time with other goods (like money, for example).
It's a good way for me to stay an expert in an open-source world, while getting paid for your contributions to society.