Open Source, Freely Taking Over the World

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1.  We support the democratization of local governments through the use of digg-style lawmaking.
2.  We believe social media websites represent the future of participatory governing.
3.  We believe traditional voting processes should be augmented with secure web-based voting systems.
4.  We want to see open source software, formats and philosophies replace proprietary products such as the ruling Microsoft monopoly in public agencies.
5.  We demand that all politicians keep regularly updated blogs, with open comment systems, to maintain contact with their constituents. (That one is my favorite!)
6.  We want to see wiki-style collaborative writing of proposed laws and bills.
7.  We demand that all governing bodies publish YouTube-style video of all public meetings and votes.
8.  We support a total reform of patent, copyright and intellectual property law to reflect free and open Creative Commons-style licensing.
9.  We are against the implementation of Draconian DRM systems.
10.  We want open VOIP, email and IM lines of communication with our elected officials.

As I read (more like scanned) through these ten commandments, a lot of keywords pop out at me; “social“, “participatory“, “open“, “blogs“, “wiki.”

You must be asking yourself, “What is this, and why are you having me read it?”

Well to be short, this is my political party; an “open source” party. This is whom the younger generation aligns with.  Radical, maybe?  Youthful, of course.  Democratic, absolutely!  You might be shaking your head and saying “The President will never sit down and write a daily blog.”  But have you seen the political ads that they are running on YouTube?  Have you read the political articles that are dugg up every day on Digg?  This is the future, and open source is the driving factor behind it.

Well what exactly does open source mean?  To get technical (wikipedia), “Open source is a set of principles and practices that promote access to the production and design process for various goods, and products… The term is most commonly applied to the source code of software that is made available to the general public with relaxed or non-existent intellectual property restrictions.”

In layman’s terms, open source software, is software in which anyone can look at it’s files and tweak them at their leisure, for their use.  Oh and did I mention it’s free!  So what software types are actually open source?  Well there is a fairly popular operating system, HTTP server, database, website statistics, scripting language, web browser, sound editor, customer relationship management, source code editor, FTP client, image editor, office documents, …need I continue?

Many of you, as well as many companies, benefit from these products everyday without even realizing it.  Did you know that WordPress is open source?  Many common blog themes are also taken and modified from open source designers, and applied as the ‘skin’ of ‘custom’ blogs.  Do any of these look familiar?

EXAMPLE 1
EXAMPLE 2
EXAMPLE 3

Scrolling_carouselHow about some blogger bling?

Using code from Mootools or Scriptaculous, you can easily create some really cool effects on your blog.  And if those two sites overwhelmed you a bit, there is a company that has even developed a nice, user friendly interface to help you create those “special effects” you so desire. Your Head.com, has two particular effects that I am sure you have seen on some of your colleagues sites.

The “Carousel” effect and the “Accordion” effect.  Both of these effects are created using Mootools, and fall under the MIT license.  You can see both of them (which were created by the YourHead.com software) in action at www.bestofflaglerrealestate.com. They add a nice functionality, with some spiffy effects.

If all of this seems interesting, but way over your head, and you would like to receive a video tutorial which walks you through how you can add effects like this to your site, just contact us.  We are more than happy to educate the real estate blogging community on how to harness the power of open source, mootools and more specifically, Object-Oriented javascript.

This article was written by Jason Benesch.