Free Trial

Safari Books Online is a digital library providing on-demand subscription access to thousands of learning resources.

  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL
Help

Chapter 1. Introduction > Science and the New Renaissance

1.10. Science and the New Renaissance

The Open Source development model of today has its roots in the academic computer science of a decade or more ago. What makes Open Source dramatically more successful today, however, is the rapid dissemination of information made possible by the Internet. When Watson and Crick discovered the double helix, they could reasonably expect the information to travel from Cambridge to Cal Tech in a matter of days, or weeks at most. Today the transmission of such information is effectively instantaneous. Open Source has been born into a digital renaissance made possible by the Internet, just as modern science was made possible during the Renaissance by the invention of the printing press.

The Middle Ages lacked an affordable information infrastructure. Written works had to be copied by hand at great expense, and hence the information had to have an immediate value attached to it. Trade records, banking transactions, diplomatic correspondence; this information was concise enough and carried enough immediate value to be transmitted. The speculative writings of alchemists, priests, and philosophers—the men who would later be called scientists—took a much lower priority, and hence the information was disseminated much more slowly. The printing press changed all this by dramatically lowering the barriers to entry in the information infrastructure. Scholars who had previously worked in isolation could, for the first time, establish a sense of community with other scholars all over Europe. But this exercise in community building required an absolute commitment to the open sharing of information.


  

You are currently reading a PREVIEW of this book.

                                                                                                                    

Get instant access to over $1 million worth of books and videos.

  

Start a Free Trial


  
  • Safari Books Online
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint