Is Open Source Finance Possible?

Open Source. Is it just for software or can it be used in other industries?

I ask that because as I’m on twitter and also checking out other blogs, I see all sorts of people offering premiere access to their tweets and blogs for a bit of monthly cash. Hey, nothing wrong with that. If I could get someone to pay me money for my musing, I’m all for it.

The thing is, I remember reading one guy begging for money, and no, it doesn’t matter who he is, it’s more the point of what he was saying. He was asking people to sign up for his site because all the research he “publishes” and his bandwidth cost him money.

Um, I had two quick thoughts. First of all, he was going to do the research anyway since he’s well, an independent trader. Regardless of whether he actually published anything, he was already doing that research. He was doing that research because that’s what he does to help support his trading. In other words, there was no extra cost since he was going to do that research anyway.

His second point was about bandwidth. Seriously? I have a website. I have a great host. Bandwidth, even 5 years ago, is the least of my issues. Bandwidth is so cheap it’s not even funny. If anything, he would have had to pay money for a dedicated box in a colo somewhere and someone to admin the box, but really, bandwidth just wasn’t a reasonable excuse to ask for money.

Of course that got me to thinking of all the different people that do charge for their blogging and tweeting. And that reminded me of all the late night real estate folks hawking their courses. It always seems that there’s always something new to buy, some new technique or something that’ll make them rich.

It got me to thinking, I bet if you gave it away free people wouldn’t even follow you. You could have a sure fire guaranteed no way to lose money and people still wouldn’t follow the instructions. So what’s the best way to see if that’s true. Well obviously open source your method and give it away. I bet you could create a system that does make money and people still wouldn’t follow the instructions. Hey, what a great mental exercise. Would it work? Good question. People smarter than I have their doubts.

But Eric Raymond and other founders of the open-source movement have sometimes publicly argued against speculation about applications outside software, saying that strong arguments for software openness should not be weakened by overreaching into areas where the story is less compelling.

Don’t know ESR? Really famous hacker, in the good sense, and author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar. His pinky is probably smarter than my entire brain. And yet here I’m proposing to do something that ESR thinks may not be a good idea.

You know what? Let’s find out. I’m fairly new to the whole trading thing. I want to learn and try to make a good at it. Why not write it up and let others learn too. I’m thinking a series of articles, all copyright by me but with maybe a Creative Commons license or something. I’ll have to think more on it, but hey, it’s a challenge to do something and a way to keep me honest on learning.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Build Your Own Cellular Network?

Let’s be honest, haven’t you always wanted to own your own cellular network? Now you can.

The task of running a cellular network has usually been reserved for major carriers. But now an open-source project called OpenBTS is proving that almost anyone can cheaply run a network with parts from a home-¬≠supply or auto-supply store. Cell-phone users within such a network can place calls to each other and–if the network is connected to the Internet–to people anywhere in the world.

Sweet. Now that sounds like a fun afternoon of tinkering.