Saturday, February 9, 2008

Open Source Think Tank: The Long Tail for Open Source by Chris Anderson

After tasting some great wine (I recommend Pine Ridge Stags Leap 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon and the tour at Pine Ridge was very interesting even for those who have taken many wine tours, we had the keynote from Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail.

Chris discussed how the concepts of the Long Tail applied to open source. He noted that the lower cost of development, lower cost of distribution and the lower cost of search which are characteristic of open source software fit the Long Tail model. He summarized the opportunity with a quote from Joe Kraus (founder of JotSpot): "Millions of markets of dozens."

Chris then predicted that the next wave of open source software will involve open source hardware. He has been working on these issues as part of his DIY Drones project. He noted some of the problems in applying open source concepts from bits to atoms. He identified that each of the six layers of open source hardware pose separate problems: mechanical drawing, parts list, schematics, PCB layouts, firmware and software. The problems range from rights owned by third parties to the protectability of items such as a parts list. His project is currently using Creative Commons license but he is not sure if it meets all of his needs.

We are able to continue the discussion at the dinner at Silverado Country Club where we capitalized on the wine tours by sharing bottles from different wineries.