Nearly every view was the same. One car, one person. Sometimes it was a big car, an SUV or pick-up. It seemed amazing to me. With gas at $4/gallon, almost no one in Atlanta shares the ride to work.
For most of my working life there have been attempts made to encourage ride sharing. Advertising has been tried. High-occupancy lanes have been tried. Now high prices are being tried. Nothing seems to work.
Does open source have a chance?
Open-Ride, a German program that arranges spontaneous ride-sharing via smartphones, hopes going open source will make things happen. The code, now available on Sourceforge, under the Affero GPL license 3.0 (the most open open source license there is) has a simple mobile interface that collects and matches desired trips.
The company that created the software, Fraunhofer FOCUS of Berlin, works with both telecomm companies and governments, as well as media and the auto sector. They must have first seen this as a great intersection among their talents that could make money. But as their Web site makes clear, they have other fish to fry -- they're active members of Eclipse, they do work with clouds, they have some mobile Internet stuff going on.
What they need to build is a user community, and an American evangelist would be just the ticket for them. Want the job?