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Thu, 02 Oct 2003
Workspaces vs E-mail
Ray Ozzie is proposing Workspaces as the replacement for eMail. Ozzie has been thinking about collaboarative work for sometime, so I'm interested in hearing his opinion. Not surprisingly, Groove is touted as a good example of a workspace based system.

My personal killer e-mail volume come from the ASF. It's so large that I have a separate e-mail address that I use for dealing with ASF stuff (and other large mailing lists). Some of this e-mail is informational, and now that the ASF has a semi-reliable mail archive, I can probably unsubscribe from some. But there's a lot that I can't unsubscribe from. I'm not sure that Ozzie's notion of workspaces would really solve some of the issue that I face when trying to participate in multiple projects and conversations. I'm not saying that e-mail is great, but it's hard for me to imagine using Groove to do what we do with e-mail. Even if Groove gives me a workspace where I don't get spam and where everything is "on topic", I don't see how it solves the problem of too much legitimate input. Not that e-mail is solving that problem either.

[01:43] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Coase's Penguin
I first heard about this paper via a post on Simon Phipps' blog. After that, I went to Yochai Benkler's page and downloaded the PDF of the paper. At 73 pages long, it didn't look like an easy read, so I put it off. At OSCON one night, I got through the introduction, but then the events of OSCON took over, and I never got a chance to finish. In the meantime, the book project expanded to fill all time of any variety. So it wasn't until yesterday that I finally sat down and read this paper all in one sitting. I may need to read it a few more times.

If you are interested in trying to understand why open source works, you ought to read this paper. Benkler suggests that the free/open source software phenomenon is an instance of a broader social economic phenomenon which he calls "commons-based peer production". His analysis of commons-based peer production positions it as an alternative method of production when compared to firms and markets:

In particular, this mode of production is better than firms and markets for two reasons. First, it is better at identifying and assigning human capital to information and cultural production processes. In this regard, peer production has an advantage in what I call "information opportunity cost." That is, it loses less information about who the best person for a given job might be than either of the other two organizational modes. Second, there are substantial increasing returns, in terms of allocation efficiency, to allowing larger clusters of potential contributors to interact with large clusters of information resources in search of new projects and opportunities for collaboration. Removing property and contract as the organizing principles of collaboration substantially reduces transaction costs involved in allowing these large clusters of potential contributors to review and select which resources to work on, for which projects, and with which collaborators. This results in the potential for substantial allocation gains.
[01:21] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
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