As announced on the CC SA blog, I have accepted the nomination to take over as Project Lead for Creative Commons South Africa. My primary objectives in this role are to develop knowledge, awareness and use of Creative Commons licenses in South Africa, to nurture the growing CC community here, and to help co-ordinate the development of up-to-date versions of the license.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to legally build upon and share. It does this by offering a range of free licenses, which offer as much or as little protection as a person wants for their work.

This facilitates the sharing, remixing and pass-along of creative works like pictures, videos, writing and music which so many of us in the online space want, and need. This video explains it well:



I have big shoes to fill in this role. Heather Ford, executive director of iCommons, has done an absolutely outstanding job during her tenure as CC SA project lead. If I can do even half as well as her then we can look forward to an more creatively accommodating web environment in South Africa.
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AuthorDave Duarte
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A couple of weeks ago Nic and Matt posted pics and commentary about the world first public screenshots of the Wikia Search project (also picked up by Mashable and TechCrunch) that were recently shown in Johannesburg. Well, now I see that iCommons has released the video of his whole talk (here). I've edited it down to a short clip just about the Search project:



In the clip, Jimmy explains that Wikia is developing a freely licensed search engine, using open source software, to compete directly with Yahoo, Google and all the big search players. It Aims to match or exceed the quality of the major search engines

He also makes a strong "political statement" that it's not healthy that so much power is in the hands of a few search companies who are secretive about how the information is ranked (other's think so too).

Lastly, he showed screenshots of the Facebook-like contributor interface, dubbed by others as his "Socialpedia".
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AuthorDave Duarte
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iCommons LogoCalling the Opensource Community (Content, Education, Software and Business): Next Saturday, Cape Town is hosting 1 of 50 parties that are happening all around the world in the interests of connecting people who have a shared interest in Opensource stuff.

Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia and head of the Wikimedia Foundation) and Heather Ford (Exec Director of iCommons) are coming to town for the gathering, and will be sharing some ideas and insights for open projects and community development. Mark Surman (Shuttleworth foundation) also happens to be in the country, and will hopefully be sharing some thoughts with us too.

Attendance at the event is free. However we ask that you offer to contribute something to the Commons - a picture, an article, a Wikipedia edit, or even an application of your skills or connections.

Lastly, a little bit of sponsorship would go a long way... If we can get contributions totalling around R2000 then we can use that to pay for corkage on some wine Stormhoek has offered us, get a proper AV system, and perhaps even a musician. Please mail me or pop your name on the wiki if you can help out with the whole amount, or a contribution to it (the donation will be processed through iCommons, a registered NPO).

UPDATE: Ronald Wertlen of eKhaya ICT has put forward the whole R2000 that we needed to zoop up the party:) Thanks Ron!
And Stormhoek is providing the wine:) Thanks Graham!

To sign up to attend, please pop your name on the wiki >>HERE.

UPDATE: The Times wrote an article about the party:  50 Fabulous Parties just for the fun of it. Thanks to Carly Ritz:)
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AuthorDave Duarte
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Dave on the Big ScreenI really meant to blog more during the iCommons Summit, but alas - the beaches, islands, old town, and brilliant people here ensured that I spent minimal quality time with my laptop this weekend.

Right now I'm sitting on the balcony of the guesthouse with a good bottle of Croatian vino and some free wi-fi which I picked up on by chance from one of the neighbours :) This is how blogging should be.

There were so many highlights  for me - perhaps the coolest was getting evicted from the Adriatic Sea by Croatian Security at 2am with Cory Ondrejka. There was also, of course, the honour of presenting in front of audiences which include some of the most influential people who are shaping the future of the internet.

Anyway, I've got to leave for the airport at 4am tomorrow morning so I'd better finish up this post and pack my bags.

ps. Check me out on the bigscreen here in my floppy hat introducing a formal panel from atop a random castle :-p
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AuthorDave Duarte
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Icommons iSummit

I'm on my way to the iCommons iSummit in Croatia this weekend. I'll be facilitating a bunch of workshops there under the banner: "Peer Production: Technological, Economic and Social norms".

Commons based peer production is about bringing people together, especially online, to voluntarily collaborate on large and meaningful creations. Prime examples of this are GNU/Linux, OpenBusiness and, of course, Wikipedia. These creations start with vision and understanding, but their success is often dependent on funding, dedication, and the right tools and technologies to support them.

At this year's iSummit the "Peer Production - Social, Technological and Economic Norms" stream will highlight and discuss ways to boost (or start) a peer produced project. In particular, we'll be looking at the gritty issues like motivation, funding, sustainability, and what free resources and software are available for creators.

We'll be kicking off the stream with a workshop on how to translate high level ideas and vision into practical, working communities. The panelists have built and run successful open communities and they'll be sharing their methods and a discussing how to make sure others can do the same and better.

The next panel is entitled "Commons Based Peer Production in Second Life", here we will will look at the role of Virtual World's in helping people from different cultures come together, communicate, and above all: add real-world value.

We'll also be looking at how to grow commons based business models. Our focus here will be on peer-economics, non-monetary business incentives and emerging open business models. The panel will present numerous business models ranging from distributed peer investment in music, film and the arts to p2p finance services and innovative organizational models following the Open Source paradigm. We will also launch OpenBusiness Tools aimed at helping to grow Commons Based Business Models.

The third workshop will gather artists and users together with FLOSS (free/libre open source software) developers to find out what both sides could do to increase the use of free software multimedia tools among artists.

The 6 invited iCommons Artists in Residence at the Summit will join us in discussing how they, as contemporary professional artists, engage with the copyfight and balance that with artistic practice, funding and the sale of their work.

The new iCommons site is going to be a powerful platform to bring cool projects and ideas to the fore; to gather collaborators and coordinate their efforts. Attendees to this stream will be encouraged and guided in using it Heather Ford and the iCommons team will close the Peer Production stream with some guidelines on how to get involved in peer producing the iCommons Summit 2008, especially throught the new site to help make it the best yet!
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AuthorDave Duarte
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iCommons Summit FundraisingiCommons.org is calling for bloggers to help raise attention for an urgent fundraising campaign they launched yesterday.

You can read more about the campaign here, but I'll give you the skinny version in the meantime...

  • iCommons has one week to raise $63 000 for the iSummit in Croatia... Largely to pay for scholarships for 300 deserving volunteers from around the world.

  • They are calling for "21 Visionary Patrons" to sponsor a "basecamp" each on the way to the summit. Each basecamp is $3000.

  • You can help by adding your blog post, or vote (digg, muti etc) to help spread this idea - one of the "visionary patrons" might come from your blog!

  • You can help by just popping the button into your sidebar... here's some code to make that easy:

    <a href="http://icommons.org/fundraising/21-visionaries/"><img border="0" src="http://icommons.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/3.thumbnail.jpg"/></a>

  • If you're a designer, you can create your own button and submit it for use as part of the global campaign.


The button is designed to live on blogs after the campaign is over, so you won't have to take it down again after a week.

iCommons is an organisation that supports and promotes stuff like free software, open-education and creative collaborations online. Very, very important now, and increasingly important as the web becomes more influential in global business and economics, particularly for  emerging economies in Africa. (more)
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AuthorDave Duarte
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