What's that on the top of every page on Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales's nonprofit encyclopedia? Why, it's an ad! Wales had long promised that Wikipedia would not carry advertising, but he makes an exception for the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia's nonprofit parent. What Wales doesn't mention: Wikipedia will soon have many new ways of making money available to it, thanks to a revision in its open-source license. Wikipedia is switching from an obscure, restrictive agreement with its roots in software documentation to a much looser Creative Commons copyright license — which means the Wikimedia Foundation will be able to profit from its volunteers' editorial work. While they're at it, why don't Wales and company just run banner ads, too? The donation drive seems like an excellent opportunity to show potential advertisers how effective Wikipedia's ads can be.
The New York Times has picked up Valleywag's extensive reporting on the ongoing Jimmy Wales scandal (How to decode the Times story: Whenever they say "a gossip Web site," they mean us.) While most of the story is a rehash, it does raise one interesting point: What's the relationship between Wikipedia and VC firm Elevation Partners? Roger McNamee of Elevation insists he's just acting as a donor and volunteer fundraiser in pulling in $1 million for Wales's Wikimedia Foundation nonprofit. But Wales admits in the article to proposing Wikipedia-branded business ventures like a trivia game or a TV documentary, with funding from Elevation Partners. Another plan we've heard: Changing the terms by which Wikipedia contributors add to the online encyclopedia to a more liberal Creative Commons license. That would make the site's content more readily reused in, say, printed works sold for profit. (Illustration by a newspaper)
Why let your abandonment of this mortal coil prevent you from continuing to be a self-impressed techno-utopian schmuck? Now you can alert the world that you read BoingBoing ever after death with the "Public Domain Donor" sticker. Put it on your license today so that when you die your Twitter will revert to the Public Domain where fellow Twitterers may build upon it with further Twittering. [Public Domain Donor via Kottke]
The latest self-satisfied work from the Creative Commons crowd claims to be designed for children. But this thing looks more like the Codex Seraphinianus than it does Dr. Seuss. As a former professional editor for Condé Nast, I spotted a logic error in the first three slides that will confuse many readers. My first reaction was to edit the text, but — seriously — I can't figure out what the copyright rules on it are. Folks, if you're truly serious about sharing your creative works, publish your next comic on a wiki.
How did someone finally explain the Creative Commons copyright alternative in a way the average American can understand? By trying to explain it to children in the developing world. This illustrated guide to CC was made for the One Laptop Per Child project. I dunno if it'll scan well into Swahili, but it works great in English.
It was an odd venue for a tech party — a greasy diner by day, the Grill sits on a corner near the ballpark, neighborhing Border's, McDonald's, and dozens of men in Giants windbreakers asking passerbys if they need a ticket. They say open source is about software that's free as in "free speech," not "free beer," but the open bar featured plenty of the latter.