I’ve been thinking about open source software (OSS) and its potential. Actually, I’m interested in investigating the relationship, if any, between OSS and ehealth. I understand the following things about OSS:
- there is a range of understanding/definitions regarding the term “open source”
- the OSS “movement” is growing
What really boggles me is in trying to understand the “business model” for open source software companies. This notion of “making freely available” one’s intellectual property (IP) is somewhat perplexing to me. In the traditional product (and even service) models of business, IP is a closely guarded secret – something that you don’t share. Money is made when you allow people to use the IP, but not have it.
I’ve been having on-going discussions and debates with fellow members of the Centre (Grant McInnes and MJ Suhonos) about developments and possible applications to ehealth. I think that OSS can be used very effectively within health care – just not sure how. More to come on this topic as I think it through.
If you are interested in learning more about OSS, you can try the following two resources:
1. The Cathedral and Bazaar: I’m told that this book is lthe “bible” for open source, outlining the history, development, and current issues. The link takes you to Amazon.com’s page for the book.
2. Open Source Conference by the Knowledge Media Design Institute: This conference is being held at the University of Toronto (May 9 – 11, 2004). There is a session on open source and health care which should be interesting.