Open Bread

Olle Jonsson and I have started a project that we’re calling Open Bread. The question we’re exploring is “do open source practices and principles have application in creating and managing non-digital ‘real world’ projects?”

Charlottetown needs a good bakery: you hear people say this all the time, especially when they’re talking about “downtown revitalization.” The usual route for a bakery to be founded would be for some plucky entrepreneur to come along and invest their time and money in starting a business. But that hasn’t happened. Can open source step into the breach: can the energy of the community, and interested others (like Olle) be harnessed to do what private enterprise hasn’t?

We don’t know. But on the Open Bread page of the Rukapedia we’re going to explore the idea.


paul's picture
paul on June 27, 2005 - 04:37 Permalink

How interested are you people in becoming bakers? It might be possible to take turn and turn alike and make the stuff you like. Easily said, since I have done this for a living and still do it at home, but it’s not ‘ “that” ’ hard.

In addition to Whole Earth, I have found The Bread Bible to be a useful resource: it removes a lot of the guesswork and mystery but preserves the experience with a maximum of fun.

oliver's picture
oliver on June 27, 2005 - 12:18 Permalink

Did someone say bread? Do rolls count too?

Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on June 27, 2005 - 13:08 Permalink

Can I make a documentary of this project?

MJ's picture
MJ on June 27, 2005 - 13:55 Permalink

I would love a bakery. It would be ideal is they could stick to basics but of high quality. Pure ingrediants with no “traces” of this or that. That’s the big problem with the current grocery store bakeries (if you can call them that). All there food is off-limits to nut and peanut allergy persons becasue it is all possibly contaminated with things (ex. traces of nuts) when nuts are clearly not meant to be in that food product. No wonder allergies are a problem!

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 27, 2005 - 14:18 Permalink

One of the keys, I think, to a successful open source bakery implementation is shifting pronoun use to “we” from “they.”

Nathan's picture
Nathan on June 28, 2005 - 04:19 Permalink

Bread lacks the unique characteristic that makes the Open Source model work so well for software. Software can be duplicated at zero-cost thus there is no free-loading problem. Everyone gets more out than they put in. The infamous hacker ESR writes about the “tragedy of the commons” in his essay on the economics of open source software, The Magic Cauldron
. Of course there are sucessful co-ops for products that do not have zero-cost duplication. I believe that such sucess is due to good design/management of the co-op. For these products the margin is smaller between individual benefit and the maximum individual contribution, making maintaining the margin more difficult to maintain than it is for open source software.

oliver's picture
oliver on June 28, 2005 - 12:27 Permalink

Open source sourdough starter duplicates at less than the cost of CDs or memory. Sourdough bread bites occupy more space than computer bytes though, so the real estate overhead might be higher.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 28, 2005 - 12:56 Permalink

Isn’t there a viable zero-net-cost argument, Nate? Unlike software, we each must eat and therefore will expend on a regular basis on bread as a staple. Isn’t the economic argument just tapping into that natural and inevitable flow?

Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on June 28, 2005 - 13:26 Permalink

How many hands will touch each loaf?