Q&A: Open ComicWare
What is Open ComicWare?
There are some founding principles of what make Open ComicWare significant to the comic world. In the tradition of Linux, Open Office, GIMP and many of the most substantial free and open-source movements, Open ComicWare was founded on the ideas of artists rights.
What that means isn't all that complicated, but it does take a small step toward a real change in the way comic communities function.
To understand Open ComicWare, it is helpful to understand the spirt behind free and open source software.The nature of Open Source is really not all that complicated, but there is one key thing about it that you have to pay attention to.
When Linux went down, it was a game-changer for the Open Source community. They had a spirit of wanting to make software and tools for people that would truly be free, allowing a user to grow without expense and break into the technology world in a brand new way -license free.
There was never a catch to this. It seemed too good to be true. It wasn't.
Enter Corporate America. Even though the origin materials were free and open to the world to use (even to alter) corporations also had a right to use the materials, alter them and then make them part of their own property. This split Open Source into two main ideas -1) Free and open-source and 2) Open Source. The difference was that "Free and open-source" was truly free -no copyright, no restrictions, to ability for the developers to sue anyone. The other (Open Source) was filled with complexities and subtle ownerships and licenses that took away much of the spirit of Open Source itself.
So, we want to be clear. We are "Free and open-source". You are free to alter, use, and redistribute what we release without consequence.
Free Open Source Linux is still build on a top-level team that approves new pieces of code and plug-ins on a case-by-case basis so as to grow official releases safely and carefully. In that Spirit, Open ComicWare is the same. We want our user-base to do whatever they want with the applications and software tools we make, but our group will be approving the official Jellyfish builds so that our community can know we have proof-checked things. It does not mean we own anything at all. We are simply developers of a public domain environment that can be used for non-commercial or commercial purposes by the world.
We encourage you to read up on Open Source vs Free and open-source here:
Who is Developing Open ComicWare and Why?
While developing Blueprint Saints Magazine (the worlds first open environment publication), key ideas of protecting creative content started to blossom. In the comic world, there was always a wall between independent comic creators and industry professionals that were part of major comic labels. Comic creators began to make their own labels -most of which were unsuccessful. While it is true that Image Comics and Dark Horse comics came out of a real growth in the independent culture, artists quickly settled back down to doing their own thing -too paranoid to even submit work to the major labels.
Open ComicWare is comprised of the materials that were developed out of the Comic Arts Partnership, Comic Creators Live and Blueprint Saints Magazine. The community team of the Comic Arts Partnership saw the challenge to local artists and began the major steps of starting an Arts organization that would allow for the production of a print magazine that would bring regional artists together. This magazine had a model that supported print, and its focus was not the web, as it was clear that the web was a dangerous model for comics due to piracy.
When Can I Get a Copy of Open ComicWare? What Are the Details of This?
Open ComicWare is still in development. For the first season of its release (summer of 2013) we are releasing it to the affiliate developers and to the other team-leaders of parallel Open Age Magazine projects and Open Age organizations (meaning other states that have 501(c)3 Arts non-profits that we encourage and help develop. It's a matter of trust as to why we are doing this.
After 2013, we plan on having this be given to the public and announced available to everyone in a package sold at cost that can be sent worldwide.
We're really excited about this and working just as hard on the project as we did Blueprint Saints Magazine. Without the Open Age of Comics principles, this new project would not even have motivation behind it to create anything. We're all so excited that we know we're making something special that will forever change the way people create comics and write for comics.
We encourage you to read up on the details of the software and movement here: