These planning pages (circa 1999) are kept here for reference. The ongoing project is now here.

The development of the Oscomak infrastructure will be an ambitious undertaking, requiring the involvement of tens of thousands of knowledgeable individuals over a period of years. There is no way one single entity can fund this work. However, there is a way to allow such individuals to cooperate -- as an "open source" community, sharing knowledge and building a distributed repository over the internet.

The revolutionary aspect of this project is to leverage a small investment into a much larger effort by fostering an internet-based community which develops this knowledge and tools using an "open source" model similar to those used by Linux, GCC, Python, and Squeak. Individuals will participate in this process for rewards of status, advertising, friendship, self-esteem, reciprocity, and contribution toward a common goal.

Open-source software projects such as Linux, GCC, Squeak, and Python are an exploding phenomenon. However, successful open-source efforts still need a substantial investment of human capital to create the initial seed and to shepherd the development process over a period of years until it becomes self-sustaining. To date the successful open-source projects have been primarily in the areas of operating systems and programming languages. The next open-source frontiers are applications and knowledge repositories.

It is the aim of this project to create an open-source community centered around applications and knowledge related to space settlement. To gain the broadest participation, the project will also include knowledge related to terrestrial settlements. The initial focus will be on collecting "manufacturing recipes" on how to make things: for example, how to make a 1930's style lathe. Information collected will range from historical interest (fabrication techniques of the stone age to make flint knives) to current (fabrication techniques to make stainless steel knives) to futuristic (fabrication techniques requiring nanotechnology to make diamond knives). This project will involve potentially hundreds of thousands of individuals across the globe. It is expected that ultimately millions of individuals (many in developing nations) will benefit from use of this database directly or indirectly.

We take our lead from several projects on the internet. For example, the Educational Object Economy is a collaborative effort to collect 10,000 educational Java applets (it currently has about one thousand). There are also numerous food-related recipe collections on the internet.

[Previous: Need | Next: Goals]