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Achieving Impossible Things with Free Culture and Commons-Based Enterprise


ait_front_cover_400x600The first completed book from Free Software Magazine Press, by longtime Free Software Magazine columnist Terry Hancock is now available. Terry 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.

Among other things, it zooms in on Blender's history and the Blender Foundation's successful philosophy of driving Blender development with community-supported open content projects. A good read for every Blender head!

From the website:

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?

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.

You can purchase the book from the website, or read all the articles online.


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. cooool!!! i love impossible things - btw - isn't the book at itself impossible? .......

    @Xenon: yes, and open money ;-) Want an apricot?

  2. I like these things. It starts with things like libraries, where people can read books without having to pay for them (the book isn't used up after one reading). It also encourages people to make money with things like Blender. I know at one time people said that you couldn't make money with Linux. That stopped when Google (they run Linux exclusively) came along. In a similar way, Facebook, Amazon, EBay, Twitter and YouTube run Linux. Getting back to Blender, the movies made in the development of Blender are looking more impressive every year. I like how these projects empower people who would otherwise be excluded from doing great things, to do great things.


  3. Xenon: Open hardware? What do you think this is... the library?When they have computers open, I always say to myself "Oh look, there's some Open hardware".

    And I really liked that on topic comment, Temaruk.

    I'm gathering a group of 6 students that I'm teaching about 3d game creation, (but really, I'd rather teach them animation, as a personal favorite) and this book will come in handy. I keep trying to save money, but you guys keep pulling me back in.

  4. Iconoclast: NO, having a 'open workstation' at your local library is not what open hardware is all about.

    its about not being tied to any vendor, being able to create your own ( modern ) system without any encumbrance. Using FPGA's is a good example of this.

  5. One the one hand we live in a time of much greed and corporations/governments trying to control everything, and on the other hand there's free software, free culture, global volunteering and sharing which we see more and more of, maybe indeed heading to an open civilization.

    Interesting times.

    The book sounds like a good read along those topics.

  6. one pathology to cure the other...:P Indeed society self-awareness should raise. Long story to tell but
    problem comes from the need for power and domination rule...

  7. @Xenon:

    I may have misunderstood what you said, but where is the pathology in an open civilization? Who would rule on whom? In a possible open civilization, there would be no need and no place for rulers. If we must say, only the laws of nature, or the circumstances would "rule" humanity in a sense, but possibly not in the harsh way. Proper technology, together with people's self- and environment-awareness, and with the proper knowledge those circumstances shouldn't be problematic at all.

    I agree on that the problem is the need for domination, but we shouldn't stop there. The source, the cause of that need is what should be dealt with.

    I just wanted to apologize again for the off topic comment, when I realized that matters like these could be related to the book.

  8. Understand me in the right way: "pathology" to which I refer is everything that is in conflict with human rights,
    not the advancement of civilization. Off topic maybe, but private property, including intellectual IS a human right.
    And GPL is the best way to ensure and protect intellectual property of a individual. Burying the code in corporate bunker will probably lead to forgetting that code, and to take it off from his inventor...

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