I've been using open source software (OSS) for several years now. I would'nt consider myself an open source evangelist, although for me it is definitely the best solution.
In case you don't know what Open Source means here a short explanation: Computer software is written in a programming language (code). This code gets compiled (transformed into something which the computer understands). After the compilation you get a finished program. These programs are the ones you are using, for example your webbrowser. But you can not change them (even if you are a programmer), because you need access to the source code to do so.
Open source software releases the source code to everybody, so everybody can change it to their needs.
This is only a short explanation, open source goes much deeper (and its a little bit more complex). If you're interested, here's a link for you: https://opensource.org/osd
Alright, back to topic.
Most of the time OSS is free software. It's easy to understand why, since if you have the source code you could theoretically compile it yourselfs.
What I love about the idea(ls) of OSS is to encourage people to take action, to take things in their own hand.
Of course not everybody is a programmer, but there is nothing stopping you from learning and gaining knowledge.
On the other hand we have systems which are closed source. They can not be analyzed or changed, because they were not intended to do so. An outstanding example to me are Apple products. You get the device as it is, if something doesn't fit you, you'll have to change instead of your tool.
Some of you might remember the issues some people had with their IPhone 4, dubbed the Antennagate.
Steve Jobs tweeted to one affected user the following statement:
Just avoid holding it that way.
Of course this affects hardware rather than software, but the case stands. The intention behind a statement like this screams to me "Friss oder stirb" (eat or die).
Now you might be wondering what this has to do with Permaculture.
In my opinion a lot. Whether you're only just began to look into Permaculture or are already actively using it, you probably know about some ways to gain knowledge about permaculture. Reading books, attending a PDC or any other relevant workshop, meeting in a local group etc.
Some of this information is open sourced and some is closed sourced. It's easy to see why for example an in depth arborist workshop is not for free. Somebody has invested a lot of time and probably money (which in turn means more time) into learning and tries to pass some knowledge.
Also books cost money, because they need to be printed.
A lot of information is however freely available on the internet, but might still be inaccessible for some. (There are still people without (stable) access to the internet, remember)
One of the base intentions of permaculture is to make a change. To enable people to be part of this change, to take matter in their own hands.
If this change should happen, it is important to give the power to the people. To enable them to do.
You cannot give a gardener a shovel with spikes on the handle and tell him to "hold it differently". ;-)
Permaculture is a set of tools. These tools might need to be changed slightly depending on where they're used.
You'll need different shovels for different types of soil.
I dont want anybody to give out free shovels, but there should be an open discussion about which shape a shovel-blade(?) can/should have, what materials can be used, how it should be maintained etc.
That's what I wish for permaculture to be, an open platform for collaboration on the tools we're using to change the world, simultaneously all over the planet.
In my opinion the first and most important incentive of every permaculture teacher should be to make himself jobless.