August 1, 2005 · Jimbo Wales
I will be blogging for Larry Lessig for the next couple of weeks, most of which I will be at the Wikimania conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Wikimania is the first major conference of the Wikimedia Community, and my keynote opening talk on Friday will be entitled “Ten Things That Will Be Free”.
The list is inspired by Hilbert’s problems. In 1900, at a conference in Paris, German mathematician David Hilbert presented 10 problems, from a list which ended up being 23. These problems influenced mathematics strongly in the coming years, serving as a focal point for the research and work of thousands of mathematicians.
I hope that my list will serve as a similar inspiration for the free culture movement. Many of the 10 are already well under way but need definition and focus, a coming together of a single coherent community. Others are in the earliest stages.
I started to name the list “Ten Things That Must Be Free” – but this sounded to me too much like an empty political demand. And the point is: this is not a dream list of things which I hope through some magic to become free, but a list of things which I believe are solvable in reality, things that will be free. Anyone whose business model for the next 100 years depends on these things remaining proprietary better watch out: free culture is coming to get you.
I will be presenting the ten things over the next ten days, but I will let you in on a little secret. I haven’t finished the list. In true collaborative style, I want to invite you to participate in the finalization and formation of the list.
The ground rules are: I am talking about free in the sense of GNU, that is: free as in speech, not free as in beer. I was talking to someone about this concept recently who suggested “health care”. That’s not the sort of thing I’m talking about. Think: GNU/Linux. Think: Wikipedia.
For each of the ten, I will try to give some basic (and hopefully not too ambiguous) definitions for what it will mean for each of them to be “solved”, and we can all check back for the next 25 or 50 years to see how we are doing.
What are the ten things that will be free?
The first seven things I have chosen, and I will post one per day for the next seven days. The final three are up to you. You tell me…
What should be free?
What will be free?