Achieving Impossible Things with Free Culture and Commons-Based Enterprise

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Achieving Impossible Things with Free Culture and Commons-Based Enterprise

The first completed book from Free Software Magazine Press, by longtime Free Software Magazine columnist Terry Hancock is now available!

Front CoverFront Cover

How did they do that?

Six “impossible things": GNU/Linux, Wikipedia, the Creative Commons, the Blender Foundation, Open Hardware, and the OLPC/Sugar project. All created under free licenses for everyone to use, in defiance of our conventional ideas of business economics. Is it magic, coincidence, or just plain common sense at work here?

The author explores the reality of these projects from an insider's perspective and picks out a set of five easy to follow rules for keeping your own projects in tune with the rules of free culture and on the track to success.

Includes the entirety of the “Impossible Things" and “Rules of the Game" article series written for Free Software Magazine, as well as five bonus articles on improving commons-based processes.

Paperback or Hardback: 290 pages with 94 illustrations.

The book is available from Free Software Magazine Press in the following formats:

  • The printed book is available for purchase from Free Software Magazine Press in Paperback ($25.95) and Hardback ($35.95) formats.

  • The paperback version of the book is also available to book-sellers through their standard distribution chains, so it can be purchased from some online retailers like Amazon. Or if you prefer, your local bookstore can most likely order it for you.

  • The original articles comprising the book can be found below on this site. These articles were intended to be more independent of each other, and assume you have the internet available to follow links or look up terms.

  • For viewing on your computer, you can download a free PDF e-book version hosted by the Internet Archive.


Rosalyn Hunter's picture

I've got a copy of the book and it's wonderful! Filled with almost 100 illustrations it is visually interesting and easy to read.

Give a copy to those friends of yours who think free software can never work. Maybe it will help to change their mind.


ronbravo's picture
Submitted by ronbravo on

Thanks for the article and book. It has been a very enjoyable read so far.

Just a few thoughts that might be useful to add to the section "Rule #2: Create a Community" is that documentation should be a part of the list to the simple approach. The documentation doesn't have to be extensive but there should be something to allow for contributors and users to understand how to use and develop the software. This ties into the idea that the project should be a welcoming and enjoyable place to be. Nothing more frustrating than the feeling of being lost or not understanding something, which documentation attempts to resolve along with forums, website, and mailing lists.

Also as for hosting it might be helpful to list several of the other project hosting sites like Github(Git Revision Source Control), bitbucket(Mercurial Revision Source Control), or a few others. They do have free hosting plans along with paid ones and include some of the things like bug tracking, wiki, and forum.