Thursday, March 16, 2006

Anonymous vs. Open Source

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, predicts that the process used in Wikipedia, in which entries are open to innumerous inputs and edits, will overshadow the process used in Britannica, in which editors review a piece and then an article is published. In his New York Times article "Anonymous Source Is Not the Same as Open Source", Randall Stross also notes that Mr. Wales is concerned about entrusting the "Wikipedian culture" to new individuals. Wikipedia currently offers 923 "feature" articles which have been double checked and edited. However, only about one new article gains feature status per day. Mr. Wales would like to improve this by looking at open source software models. This would perhaps allow both the inclusion of many contributions and a second level of more restrictive policy to prepare for release. According to Mr. Wales, Wikipedia has "'half the model.'"

On the other hand, though Wikipedia is far from Britannica, Jess Bates, a vice president of the Open Source Technology Group who oversees, the host of more than 80,000 active open-source projects, suggests that Wikipedia is still not an open source, since one individual takes responsibility for the information, though many contribute.

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