Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia that harnesses the collective brain power of millions of people by allowing the users to have editorial control. By giving people an interactive platform to express their own knowledge, Wikipedia has gathered a global army of volunteer researchers. The same idea animates all open source software. Open source communities of programmers develop a piece of software, exploiting its potential. As the software grows more useful, everyone shares in its success. There is lay claim to being the author. But why do people spend their time working on a project without pay? Because of the thrill they get from participating in the creation of something important- something for the greater good.
Enter onto the stage — the open source car.
A consortium of Dutch universities and organizations have partnered together to create C,mm,n – an open source community to design a better electric car. Working within an on-line platform, designers who register on the site, can collaborate on a virtual model. Discussion threads unspool across the screen. All the ideas developed from the project can be freely used by anyone else, as long as they share their research back with the group. C, mm, n, sponsors live events called ‘garages’ where people can come together face to face with their fellow designers, and with an electric car. C,mm,n, is not about finding the single best design, but is instead an encyclopedia of ideas and solutions and a laboratory for testing out new ones.