Scalable, modular documentation is key to OSE’s work.
Humans have a unique capacity to learn from past experience. The invention of writing 10k years ago sharpened this skill to extraordinary capacity - enabling humans to dominate their natural environment. Seminal general semanticist Alfred Korzybski calls this ability "time-binding" - the unique capacity of humans to bind time by beginning development where another human left off. This ability depends on the availability of documentation. While this documentation may be oral, highly complex technical tasks beyond heirloom technology require written documentation.
OSE develops its machines via module-based design. This means that we break machines down into modules, and each module can be developed in parallel with other modules. For this to happen, one must document how these modules fit together - which is the Interface Design.
In principle, if a project can be broken down into a large number of modules, then a correspondingly large project team can be involved in parallel - allowing for rapid development velocity. Further, if a project is open source, well-organized documentation allows new developers to orient themselves rapidly, resulting in short onboarding times.
OSE’s Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is an experiment to test the power of scalable, modular, open source documentation. What are the resulting development efficiencies? Can we develop a scalable process where a single developer can coordinate 1000 development hours of free collaboration per week? Can this collaboration be structured sufficiently within a chaotic process to allow for the execution of complex tasks - that are time-bound to achieve long-term goals? Can prototyping of new modules - and therefore new complex machines - occur on the time scale of a week? Can this process be scaled to multiple developers? These are some of the critical questions that OSE is trying to answer.
This website shows the 50 GVCS machines and a Dashboard. The Dashboard is a unique identifier taxonomy that has been developed in the 2013 Open Source Hardware Documentation Jam, and is added to OSE documentation and embedded within the underlying internet structure (XML tags), beginning with OSHW (Open Source HardWare) - Project Entity - Product - Brief Description - Status - License - and Keywords. This taxonomy such that a search engine can find any OSHW project in the world. For the OSHW project to meet the Open Source Hardware Association Definition 1.0, the project must have a license (such as Creative Commons CC-BY-SA) that does not prevent commercial use (ie, CC-BY-NC licenses are not allowed). You can find out more about why OSE does not endorse NC licenses Here.
OSE DOCUMENTATIN AND DEVELOPMENT PLATFORM
For OSE, this is our general platform: (Graphic)
The list of machines is at the OSE Dozuki site, which uses an open, XML-based document standard for instruction manuals, oManual. Related machines other than the 50 GVCS tools are found under Other.
We use Trovebox to store all our pictures, and we upload video to YouTube in realtime.
OSE’s parallel development process is intended to be carried out by 12-24 person teams for each module. If there are multiple modules developed at the same time - say 6 - then a hardware project lends itself to a development team on the order of 100 people. OSE is experimenting what resources are required for a single project leader to guide such a team to rapid project completion.
For electro-mechanical devices such as those in the GVCS, a team is requires these specific functions:
ECONOMICS - ENTERPRISE CONSTRUCTION SET
Economic feasibility is a validation of the effectiveness of products. Just like we are creating construction sets for machines, we are creating a construction set for enterprise.
Open documentation and development provides a good foundation for developing enterprise. The promise of open is that innovation can be accelerated to an unprecedented rate. Open makes lean operation possible, including the ready ability to invite external contributors. Open development attracts contributors because of its ethical advantage - because openness is compatible with the common good. Both an ethical and practical advantage comes to the fore when open development results in the solution of wicked problems.
With open processes, the energy spent on protectionism is eliminated. Protectionism manifests itself in competitive waste - such as poor internal communication, power struggles in organizations, use of expensive hardware and software, high intellectual property costs, and in general a higher overhead because of added complexity. These points indicate that the open source business model can be more effective for the bottom line, while meeting social objectives.
Based on the technique for documenting and developing products via module-based design, see the status of each of the machines at http://opensourceecology.org/gvcs/gvcs-machine-index/
Based on the status of the machines, we are requesting proposals for specific development points. See the RFP (Request for Proposal) section.