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Software Zero: Global-Scale Collaboration

Contributors: Harlan T Wood, Jack Senechal, Travis Wellman, Adam Apollo

The mission of Software Zero is to create a platform for swarm intelligence to collaborate on a project, while retaining the edits and contributions of every author throughout the history of the collaboration. Contributors do not have to agree on a single version; each author can maintain their own latest version. This “branching” of creative works encourages a diversity of perspectives that can be exchanged and interwoven in a creative network of any scale. Authors can create unlimited branches, easily view differences between branches, and merge in changes from other versions and authors.

The Software Zero launch rolls up the four main project areas of enlightened structure – creative collaboration, trust and reputation systems, visual navigation of data, and the underlying data graph – into one product release. That is, it’s the basic elements of each of the enlightened structure project areas that make a great, usable, consumer-oriented web application to get the ball rolling. This is just the beginning, but we want it to be a great beginning, with solid tech and features that are useful for you.

Academic Applications

A primary application of the enlightened structure technology is the Massively Parallel Academic Research System (MPARCS). As Wikipedia has opened the encyclopedia by leveraging the “wisdom of crowds”, so enlightened structure will open the cutting edges of human knowledge, as represented in academic research. Research papers, or even seeds of papers, placed into the public domain with appropriate supporting technology, will allow others to build on these works, while still preserving intellectual ownership of ideas through total transparency and traceability.

Academic research builds upon other research. What if this could be done incrementally, as a living conversation? What if instead of having to wait for a whole “new” idea, a paper could be improved on incrementally, by anyone who had an improvement – minor or revolutionary? Then the world of research and knowledge advancement could become truly alive, constantly morphing, reorganizing, improving the human knowledge ecosystem.

The technology involved is an extension of the “wiki” concept popularized by Wikipedia. But instead of trying to have a single, definitive version of each article, MPARCS allows each user to copy other users’ articles, for editing, combining, remixing.

Reputation and Content Ratings

Ratings are an extremely important part of enlightened structure. Suppose an article on a physics simulation algorithm spawns versions created by thousands of interested users. When the original author wants to review the most interesting revisions, considering whether to incorporate any of the new ideas into their own latest update, they can turn to peer ratings as a starting place, to locate the most interesting content.

A sophisticated ratings system will allow ratings at several levels: from the entry level, where any person can rate any article, up to the expert level, where articles deemed particularly “interesting” by the open ratings community can be assessed by credentialed experts in a given field. Users will also be able to rate other users, so that each user can create a personalized ratings matrix, where the ratings given to articles by users they trust will be weighted more significantly than those of users unknown to them.

New Models of IP Ownership

enlightened structure will leverage the same collective power as Wikipedia, while also allowing for individual ownership – each user can copy and edit articles that are in the public domain, but the original article will stay intact, allowing each contributor to receive full credit for their contribution. The system will allow users to see the complete history of any article, tracing its evolution through various authors, and providing a view of the differences between any given versions.

Maximally Permissive Licensing

enlightened structure will be released as free, open source software, utilizing maximally permissive licenses, allowing incorporation into free and commercial software without restriction. The intention is to create a standard platform, with no barriers to use or incorporation into other systems.

Architectural Foundations

Building simple, stable, long-term foundations for a new generation of information topologies All of the technologies described rest on solid, distributed, ultra-scalable information foundations. Our data layer and our foundations are made to be shared with a rich ecosystem of current and forthcoming applications.

We Value

Open Source Ethos

Software Zero is being developed as a volunteer effort, supported by our team’s belief in the power and promise of these platforms.

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