So it’s probably not catchy enough to be a clothing line but I really agree with the proposed concept of an “opensource community grid”, or “grid for us, by us”. Groups like Folding@Home, SETI or other distributed computing activities are a start. However, you either have to get community buy in for assistance in solving a very selective problem or find funds to pay one of the general distributed computing groups which lease out their capacity.
I’ve long wondered why there isn’t some type of package in Fedora (or any of the other distros) which someone could enable to participate. Much like the mysterious CryptNet group from Neal Stephenson’s book The Diamond Age.
In reality I know there are some very complicated issues to work out. For starters, how do I know something I host isn’t ultimately using my cycles, memory, storage and bandwidth for nefarious ends. How can I ensure a hosted process isn’t going to crash or otherwise corrupt my system (accidentally or intentionally)… the pessimistic list could go on.
But I think in spirit if we want to continue the trend of using opensource to positively impact society at large, then some step will ultimately have to be taken in this direction. It’s simply too constraining to continue to operate as completely isolated entities.
Are there ways we can accelerate this? Can we take any lessons from “distributed corporate America” ( amazon, flickr, google, … ) ?