Tag Archives: Open Content

Wikimania 2008 wrap-up notes

Wikimania 2008 was a blast. Here are just a few more bits of information that didn’t have a place in other posts.

Wikimania logoImage via Wikipedia

Cool projects

PediaPress is a project that allows you to turn Wikipedia pages into actual books. They have an open-source MediaWiki extension, so you can run this on your own wiki. The coolest thing is that they’re going to be integrated into official Wikipedia wiki’s, so the whole world will be able to get their paper Wikipedia quickly and cheaply. Kudos go to Heiko and Johannes for getting this far with it.

UniWiki is a set of usability extensions for MediaWiki, developed by Unicef. They’re using wiki’s in 3rd world countries to help spread knowledge and to allow collaboration between schools from all over the world. They’ve done some impressive testing and improvement, so these extensions are something you should consider for your MediaWiki. The only problem right now is that they’re actually very hard to find. I’ll try to get a better idea how to get this working and post a follow-up blog post on this subject.

Wikia Search data dumps. While we’ve all tried the Wikia search, it’s not so well known fact that they have database dumps of everything. This should make some interesting research possible. Incidentally, this is exactly what Franklin st. statement proposes.

OLPC in Europe. There were some rumors that this Christmas they’re going to repeat funding drive that they had last year in USA. It’s not going to be limited only to USA, so we’ll be able to get them on this side of the pond.

FLOSS Manuals is a project that’s creating Free Manuals for Free Software. The idea is to create communities around different software projects that then work together to write really great manuals. Some of them are also available as printed versions.

Kaltura – Open Source video editing platform. Idea here is to be able to edit a video, just like a wiki. They have their own Flash player and can fully attach to MediaWiki pages.


General impressions

Overall it was a great conference. For some reason I’ve felt a bit of disconnect with local attendees but that is probably my own fault. Conference organizers did an incredibly good job with the whole organization. The only wish I would have for the next time is to make sure there is water available at the venue. It was a bit strange to only have some coffee and tea available, but it was easy enough to find a near street-corner vendor with water. 


What I learned about future of Wikipedia and Wikimedia foundation

I learned that they are working very hard. But it’s a really young organization that’s only starting to grow. So for now it seems that their goals for next year is to just make the whole operations as stable as possible that will allow them for further growth and bigger projects.

Having better search, WYSIWYG editor, better uploads and more projects is on their TODO list, but to be able to achieve that they have to make sure their infrastructure (both technical and real-world) is working well enough. I can fully respect that.

There was also some buzz on finally getting tagged revisions in. This will allow to create non-vandalized snapshots of pages through time (or at least that is my envisioning of usage).


Zemanta Pixie

Heather Ford – The future of the commons [Wikimedia 2008 notes]

The Free Culture bookshelfImage by skyfaller via Flickr

Traditional approaches to solving global problems:



At the moment, traditional approaches to solving complex world problems, are incapable.


We new solutions, new approaches and new forum to solve global challenges. We need to translate what we learned from the commons, where amazing collaboration happens. It’s not perfect but it’s still very amazing.


What is the commons?

The commons was a concept that was developed in 18th Century which looks at physical piece of land that the community used as a common propriety, and could be used by the community together as the community members wished. The commons source is in physical properties.

David Bollier: “A commons arises whenever a given community decides that it wishes to manage a resources in a collaborative mannger, with a special regard for equitable access, use and sustainability. It is a social form that has long lived in the shadows of our market culture, but which is now on the rise.”


Features of commons:


  • Self organising;
  • Organic;
  • Decisions by rough consensus;
  • Willing participants;
  • Open architecture makes wide-scale participation easy;


Who makes up the global commons movement?

The global commons movement consists of:





  • Distance between the commons experts, and civil society and business;
  • Distance between the problems that are being solved;
  • Distance between those who propagate technological vs. Infrastructure, ‘legal vs. Illegal’ solutions.


We need a global network of actors with a shared vision to come together from different sectors to address global challenges together.


iSummit – summit about commons issue.


The future of the commons will be in wheather we can translate what we have learned to solve real global problems.

Zemanta Pixie