Can the balance shift towards open source in mobile?

Writers, Illustrators, Animators Have a Role to Play Supporting Open Source in Mobile

The battle lines for the mobile marketplace have been drawn, and the battle of the titans - Google, Apple, Microsoft -- has begun. While the generals amass their troops, what have we here in the corner? A bunch of doodlers, cartoonists, storytellers, and other amateurs. Surely, this ragtag group won't have any effect on the outcome of the battle--or will they?

Suppose a handful of these creative types released their best collaboratively created work for enjoyment on open platforms. And then over time the public comes to connect the best creativity with open platforms. Subtle or not, consumers would come to associate a richer creative experience with open platforms. That social force is outside the control of the generals.

Such a revolution can start out small. For example, someone from Lexington, Massachusetts, could post a short tweet or upload a short YouTube video. And before you know it, the ragtags are starting to organize themselves. Their only uniform is that they're not uniform. And that's their strength. Diversity is their strength.

While I would not characterize myself as a full-bodied creative, I sometimes both doodle and dawdle. I love coming up with stories that both entertain and provoke thought. And I take a great interest in makers, those people who see possibilities where others see none. The story of the person who takes on insurmountable odds with resourcefulness and willpower is an ageless one.

So what would happen if rich media stories of the kind linked to above were preinstalled on tablets and phones that use open source software? Maybe 50 stories, or 500 stories, or 5000 stories. What would happen if these stories were donated by their creators for free use on these devices? Would the proprietary tablet business model be able to withstand this? I don't know, but I'd be interested in finding out. I'm wondering which of the Android tablet makers would be the first to embrace creatives as allies. Would it be Archos or Lenovo or Viewsonic or Samsung -- or some other company? Which company would be the last to embrace creatives as allies? Why? Stay tuned. This story is unfolding before our eyes.

So here's to the creative ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones determined to unlock doors. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can tweet them, subscribe to them, follow them, or like them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. Because the people smart enough to believe in a more open world, are the ones who the world belongs to.

Phil Shapiro

The blogger is an educator and community builder in the Washington, DC-area. He can be reached at and on Twitter at

For those who might be interested, a moderated email list for creatives interested in working together to make media for open source mobile devices has been set up on YahooGroups. Writers, illustrators, animators, musicians and voice-over artists are invited.

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