Open source, closed wallet.

I have been extremely preoccupied (with grant proposals) since my last post. This post has been in draft since the beginning of the month but remains pertinent.

I found this, which says that Juan Alberto Belloch (mayor of Zaragoza) has a site which is a clone of Menéame which is a clone of Digg. Further investigation stumbled upon this bit of old, but related, news:

Spain's Juan Alberto Belloch is running for office on the "Linux platform" -- betting his political future on the power and appeal of open-source software. Belloch, candidate for mayor of Zaragoza, plans to build a network of "Open Cities" across Spain, each with its own team of technical experts charged with developing open-source software for use within the city and throughout the country. ....

"We want to be the Redmond of the European free software world," Belloch said. ... The mayors of Seville, Lleida, Mataró, Madrid and Gijón also support the plan. ....

Belloch began his romance with Linux four months ago, after meeting with a local Linux users group. Members were invited to a meeting to discuss open-source software and the possibility of providing free wireless access to Zaragoza residents. "These guys were just amazing," Belloch said. "They were very different from other kinds of activists I've worked with. They were not demanding, shouting or even asking. Instead they were actually doing things. (my emphasis)

Despite strong connotations of "geek" worship in the article, it brings to light many interesting points about the possibilities for expansion of open-source software. I hope that plans for free wireless access for residents have gone through. There seems already to be a divergence here between Spain "catching up" with the technological advances in other European and North American countries and the possibility of surpassing the services offered. I know of wireless hotspots in New York, but they're not free.

With the benefits of Internet news archives, we now know that Belloch is mayor of Zaragoza and has expanded his participatory technology efforts into designing a Digg-like site of his own. I often refer to these sites as being comprised of "user-generated" content, but I much prefer Digg's description of "user-powered" content. It says so much more, no?

Back to the beginning, Adolfo Estalella (blog author and ethnographer) has recently posted about Twitter, a site which I also believe deserves some attention. His exploration of the press coverage and personal experiences of twittering is well worth reading.
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