Open Everything London: Speakers Confirmed

We’re pleased to announce that the main speakers for Open Everything London (on next Thursday 6th November) have now been confirmed: Glyn Moody “… a technology writer. He is best known for his book Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution (2001). It describes the evolution and significance of the free software and open […]

Free our Bills!

Free Our Bills! is a campaign led by a cheeky platypus, just escaping from the portcullis of Parliament. Sign up now, or read on… Sometimes data being free isn’t good enough – it needs to be released in a properly structured format. If you want to reproduce the text of Bills (proposed new laws in […]

Review of economics of trading funds published by UK Government

Hot off the press – the UK’s Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has published a review of the economics of trading funds. The review follows (I think) recommendation 9 of the Power of Information review: Recommendation 9. By Budget 2008, government should commission and publish an independent review of the costs and benefits […]

David Cameron for open knowledge?

In a speech today, the Leader of the Opposition in the UK said some interesting things about freeing up Government information. He begins with some general open information philosophy: But look at our Government at home. It’s still bureaucratic, still top-down and still old-world. It still thinks it knows best and that it should keep […]

When is my bus?

Sometimes you find some data whose lack of freedom is totally mysterious from a commercial point of view. At mySociety, we recently released made some travel time maps which help you work out where you should live that would have the quickest commute to your place work. Interactive flash sliders to balance this delicate equation […]

Open social data progress

My last post here, Google vs. Facebook, was about how our own personal knowledge, that you’ve put into social networks like Facebook or MySpace, should also be open. By this I mean that you should have control of it, and it should be encoded in open formats with open protocols. The last week there’s been […]

We need an Open Service Definition

There’s a buzz at GUADEC, an open source computer desktop conference in Birmingham right now, about the idea of the Online Desktop. Increasingly we all use web services rather than local applications, and store our own personal knowledge in other people’s proprietary formats and software. GMail rather than Outlook, Flickr rather than iPhoto. Just as […]

Giving us our own information

Yesterday, the UK’s Cabinet Office published an important new review of Public Sector Information. It’s a fat document to read through, but it oozes with ideas and stories (many no doubt from readers of this blog) about the importance of open data. The obvious question is, what will the Government do with it at all […]

Parliamentary data, in a can

Public Whip and TheyWorkForYou have been around for a few years now, grabbing data from the UK Parliament website and making it more useful, and accessible with better navigation, search and email alerts. It’s little known, but we also make all that open data available in a separate screen scraping project called parlparse. Rufus first […]

Open APIs Don’t Equal Open Knowledge

Kragen Sitaker recently posted an essay about the equivalent of free software for online services. Kragen is always interesting and this is no exception. He points out that the movement to use online services rather than local applications greatly increases the possibility for vendor lock-in. This is Microsoft Office on steroids and I’d guesstimate that […]

Dead knowledge: why being explicit about openness matters

When I think of the amount of knowledge that is ‘dead’ because of a lack of explicitness about its ‘openness’ I am always surprised by the number of examples. Consider the following two: Example 1: Everything2 and h2g2 Years ago, back when I was at university I remember stumbling across <http://www.everything2.com/>. Shortly thereafter I remember […]

IIC Telecommunications and Media Forum: Spectrum Policy

One of the good things about going to the IIC forum (see next post for details) was the opportunity to hear the debate on the other, more ‘telcoish’ panels which were extremely interesting — especially those that dealt with spectrum (albeit because it’s an area I don’t know that much about). Listening to the debate […]

Knowledge Packaging (for Content)

Late in the afternoon at the Free Culture UK meetup back in April there was a discussion of the analogy between code and content in relation to open production models. This came up as an aside to the main discussion but it raised some very interesting points directly related to my ongoing consideration of the […]

The Four Principles of (Open) Knowledge Development

[Further discussion and elucidation of the ideas in this piece can be found in the follow-up: What Do We Mean by Componentization (for Knowledge)?] Introduction Open knowledge means porting much more of the open source stack than just the idea of open licensing. It is about porting many of the processes and tools that attach […]

A Sighting of the Database Right

Given my interest in metadata for cultural works when I cam across a copy of Who Wrote What?: A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works (ed. Michael Cox) [OUP 2001] in a secondhand bookshop I was immediately interested. After a quick browse of the data presented I took a look at the ‘restrictions’ information inside […]

Distributing Data Revisited

A while back there was a thread on okfn-discuss about distributing large amounts of data. So i was interested to run across an article on freshmeat about The Problem With Mirrors. The article itself wasn’t so great but I found the comments informative and noticed that they tended towards a bittorrent type solution that had […]

At ETech 06

I’m currently in San Diego at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (ETech ’06) courtesy of co-presenting a talk with Jo Walsh entitled Hack Your Own Conference: the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructures. The talk to interest the most so far was by Tim Bray who spoke about the Atom syndication format. Rather than being […]

The Three Meanings of Open

The OKF is the Open Knowledge Foundation. But what does it mean for knowledge to be open? We take open to have three distinct senses: legal, social and technological. Legally Open Knowledge is legally open if it is free of most of the standard legal restrictions and requirements. In particular it should be accessible without […]