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Pāvils Jurjāns

Director/owner, Knowledge Factory

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Why does TED.com have so little focus on open-source (software/hardware/ideas)?

To my view, what has happened with open-source software movement, is something totally spectacular. Software development 2.0, if you wish. And with great implications on the rest of the economy, if/when the frameworks of OOS will be applied to the hardware development.
What is happening with Creative Commons licence, is equally impressive. And that is also about sharing, reusing and mixing.
I am somewhat puzzled, why such a great organisation as TED is, does not emphasise the importance of the open source movement. Don't want to build conspiracy here, but would that be reluctance to upset sponsors? For example, people from Microsoft have had several talks, while Linus Torvalds or Tim Oreilly or Mark Shuttleworth - zero.

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    Feb 21 2011: I think the truth is actually somewhere in the middle. Michael gave a good answer showing the support of open-source with some undeniable facts, but on the other hand that Pavils also made a good observation.

    I remember being very annoyed when Stephen Lawler got to give a tour of Microsoft Virtual Earth at TED, but no developer of Celestia was given the chance.
    The same goes for Google's Lalitesh Katragadda giving a talk on Google Map Maker. I am not questioning the great potential in using it in situations like the Haiti earthquake, but what about Open Street Map? Together with a good friend we set out to map our home town and have now achieved a map with greater accuracy and more details than that of Google.

    So in conclusion I must agree that whilst TED is doing its best, it could do more.
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      Feb 21 2011: I agree actually, but I think I'm conflating two areas in my response -- TED's internal practices vs. TED's speaker/content curation. I spend my days immersed in the former which I do believe approaches Open Source as both a practice and philosophy with a great deal of vigor.

      TED Curation, however, is far outside my day-to-day work. I think curation by definition is the opposite of open source. Even so, I believe TED does an outstanding job of it. True, there are always a few voices that I feel are neglected, but the curators themselves appear to periodically feel the same way.

      From what I've seen, every speaker recommendation is investigated in a disciplined and fair manner by people I find thoughtful, open-minded, and emotionally intelligent. (Working at TED leaves me biased of course, but it's what I've witnessed since I started working here. So take this for whatever it's worth.)

      Please recommend speakers! While the curators track a broad spectrum of areas of thought, invention, and action, they don't purport to be worldwide authorities on 'ideas.' TED would no doubt benefit from exploring unusual aspects of Open Source and would listen carefully if you shared some which might fit the format of a TEDTalk.

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