Stewardship and naming
So far, I haven't had much luck building a community around Memorati™. The Drupal make-over will help bring more community features to the site and this should help. Which also makes this an opportune time to make any big changes, while, essentially, no one cares...
Right now, Memorati attempts to be three things:
- A free public website which hosts an online flash card program.
- A piece of open source software implementing this online flash card program.
- A community effort for maintaining the program.
But as I mentioned a few months ago, I also want to find a way to monetize Memorati this year. That means that it would be a commercial venture too. Now thats probably a few things to many.
So, sometime after the new Memorati site goes live, I'm going to be making some changes, which I will describe below. First, however, I would like to define some terms:
- The Lingwo™ Project: This is an open source effort to build a translating morphological dictionary and language corpus. It will resemble a Wiki, in that anyone can contribute data to it. I've been working on it for years but haven't yet released anything publicly. I'll post more details soon.
- Lingwo International™: This is a commercial company. Right now, its just a sole proprietorship, consisting of me, David Snopek, which I've registered in the state of Wisconsin as doing business as "Lingwo International". This is the entity through which I want to monetize the open source efforts I am working on.
How to balance the open source and commercial aspects of what I am working on, in a way that morally correct, has been on my mind since I've started working on this code. And I think I've finally figured out how I'm going to un-muddy the waters.
The open source flash card program currently known as Memorati, will be rolled into The Lingwo Project, and known as "Lingwo.flashcards". The community effort for maintaining the code (right now, just the wiki and launchpad stuff) will become part of the presently non-existant Lingwo community.
After that point, Memorati will only refer to the public website, which will be a commercial product of Lingwo International. Memorati will always remain free and open to the public but will also contain a content marketplace, where people can buy and sell flash card sets. I originally contemplated making content creation the exclusive business of Lingwo International, but that isn't how I want to spend my time, and so it will be open for anyone to sell their creations.
Lingwo International will position itself as the official patron of The Lingwo Project. This means that any unpaid expenses that The Lingwo Project has (ie., web hosting) will be covered by Lingwo International (which is me). The Lingwo Project will continue to accept donations, which will go to offset its expenses. If the donations ever exceed expenses (rather unlikely) the money will not go to Lingwo International. They will be held for use by the community, to be spent only on things that benefit the community.
In this way, Lingwo International and The Lingwo Project are seperate, except that Lingwo International is constantly donating money to cover The Lingwo Project. And Lingwo International will use open source software created by The Lingwo Project to build its products, which is something that any commercial entity can do under the terms of the GPL.
In the future (probably post-2008) I plan to release another commercial product under Lingwo International based on the dictionary and corpus parts of the The Lingwo Project. But first have to even get the Lingwo code released publicly! More on that front soon, I hope.