Azeem Azhar's article in the February 2004 issue of Prospect magazine is a good review of the open source movement which not only traces the history and potential of open source in software development, but explores open source ideology being applied to non-software development. As described in the article,
Yochai Benkler, a law professor at Yale University, has called this "commons-based peer production." The commons refers to the sharing of the underlying code or the output that is open to all, akin to the public land that farmers once grazed their livestock upon. Peer production means that producers participate for their own varied reasons and in ad hoc ways, not necessarily via legal contract or management fiat. Benkler calls this a third mode of production for the market, distinct from the company and the "spot market" (or, in employment terms, the freelancer). Open source shows that it is possible for part of the economy to function without companies but with many self-employed individuals contracting with each other.
Included in the article are mentions of Wikipedia, open access journals, Open Course Ware and open journalism. Overall, a good review to share with anyone wanting to learn about open source, open content and the public commons.