This is a study on open collaborations for appropriate technology, initiated by Akvo.[1]

Terminology[edit | edit source]

The term "Open Source Appropriate Technology" is sometimes used. This has the advantage of a clear association with the concept of "Open-source software" with its connotations of collaboration, openness, stability and performance. The disadvantages relate to the "source code" referred to in Open Source Software. Design of physical objects is rather a different challenge to writing source code.

The term open hardware is also used sometimes in this context. However, this term is also used by those specifically working on open computer hardware.

The term open design has been used, has less potential for confusion, and it is suggested here that we adapt this term to appropriate technology: Open Design Appropriate Technology.

If "Open Design" does not have the recognition that open source does, it is important to build that recognition - including a recognition of its similarities to and differences from "Open Source".

Suggesting a new, more acceptable term, consistent with the Open Design, avoiding confusion with Open source software and issues with source code vs design...

Finding the commonly used phrases is important, as it provides the key to search engines, to find content on the subject.

What is an "open collaboration"?[edit | edit source]

Appropriate technology wikis[edit | edit source]

See also: Appropedia:Wiki origins

Not quite "appropriate technology"[edit | edit source]

Wikis[edit | edit source]

Sustainable design, if not Appropriate technology:


Non-wiki[edit | edit source]

  • MIT Collabatorium - highly structured; in concept phase.
  • OAN - very visual and requires the use of tools to create/present the design: CAD...; starts from a single viewpoint - is there an equivalent of a stub?

talk of OSAT

  • STAR-TIDES - uncertain commitment to platform, but making some use of Appropedia.
  • ThinkCycle? Didn't take off.

Real world collaborations[edit | edit source]

Open design work in appropriate technology includes:

NGOs and ODAT[edit | edit source]

Many NGOs in principle believe in openness, including:

  • Practical Action (the original appropriate technology organization, starting in 1965 as the Intermediate Technology Development Group.) Their technical briefs are used by Appropedia and Howtopedia, among others, with the approval of Practical Action. Neil Noble expressed to me (Chriswaterguy) a wish that these would be made inviting for readers to make improvements to these pages.
  • AIDG - site (or blog only?) uses a CC-BY license. How do they document their appropriate technology work?
  • Full Belly Project - explicitly describe their designs as open source - what exactly do they mean by this?
  • Village Earth - to the extent that they set up the first appropriate technology wiki, The Appropriate Technology Wiki Project. It appeared hard to actively manage the wiki while still managing the organization, and in the end it was merged into Appropedia.

What is very clear from looking at examples such as these, is that the intent to share is present, but the techniques available for doing so have been very limited, and have not led to active OSAT development involving NGOs.

Commercial entities and OSAT[edit | edit source]

  • The Open Toolbox "Vital Keys for Life-Embracing Communities" Co-founder Vinay Gupta states: "Our business model is to sell the service of doing this kind of training work to organizations that need it - NGOs, government, business - so the materials are fully open but if you want us to turn up and teach you these things, you pay for our time."

Movements and networks[edit | edit source]

  1. "zero point" energy are not only unproven, but rejected by the scientific community as impossible.
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