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Open Source/Free Software Papers

Posted on 28 January 2005 by Demian Turner

Open Source/Free Software Papers

The Cathedral
and the Bazaar

Author: Eric S. Raymod

"I anatomize a successful open-source project, fetchmail, that was run
as a deliberate test of some surprising theories about software engineering
suggested by the history of Linux. I discuss these theories in terms of two
fundamentally different development styles, the "cathedral" model
of most of the commercial world versus the "bazaar" model of the Linux
world. I show that these models derive from opposing assumptions about the nature
of the software-debugging task. I then make a sustained argument from the Linux
experience for the proposition that "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are
shallow", suggest productive analogies with other self-correcting systems
of selfish agents, and conclude with some exploration of the implications of
this insight for the future of software."

Free Culture

Author: Lessig, Lawrence

The keynote speech builds upon the following points:

  • Creativity and innovation always builds on the past.
  • The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it.
  • Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past.
  • Ours is less and less a free society.

the Mind : Free Software and the Death of Proprietary Culture

Author: Moglen, Eben

A discussion of Open Source/Free Software as a form of production or a system
of industrial relations, and also the beginning of a social movement with specific
political goals which will characterize not only the production of software
in the twenty-first century, but the production and distribution of culture

Intellectual Property,
Open Source and Free Software

Author: Vadén Tere

The notion of intellectual property is used in order to create digital commodities.
While the commodification of code is useful for certain kinds of knowledge intesive
work (the Taylorist forms), it severely disrupts other types of knowledge creation.
Applying Scott Lash’s division of knowledge creation into organisational and
disorganisational types, we also gain insight into the different positions towards
IP held by different wings of the FOSS community.

Coordination in Modular Organization: Voluntary FS/OSS Production and the Case
of Debian GNU/Linux

Authors: Garzarelli, Giampaolo & Roberto Galoppini

The paper analyzes voluntary Free Software/Open Source Software (FS/OSS)
organization of work. The empirical setting considered is the Debian GNU/Linux
operating system. The paper finds that the production process is hierarchical
notwithstanding the modular (nearly decomposable) architecture of software and
of voluntary FS/OSS organization. But voluntary FS/OSS project organization
is not hierarchical for the same reasons suggested by the most familiar theories
of economic organization: hierarchy is justified for coordination of continuous
change, rather than for the direction of static production. Hierarchy is ultimately
the overhead attached to the benefits engendered by modular organization.

The Big Project That
Never Ends’: Role and Task Negotiation Within an Emerging Occupational Community

Author: McCormick, Chip

This dissertation involved in-depth interviews of over fifty open source developers
in two major open source projects. The primary areas of interest were 1) conducting
an ethnographic study of the work practices and culture of ‘post-burecratic’
organizations to see what lessons these groups may hold for managing intellectual
labor and 2) examining whether the open source movement represents a new professional
model for software engineering.

An Economic Theory of
Free and Open Source Software: A Tour from Lighthouse to Chinese-Style Socialism

Author: Chiao, Benjamin Hak-Fung

The theory is that free and open source software is private property under the
guise of common property. Such software is distributed mostly under the GNU
General Public License. The intents in The GNU Manifesto suggest striking similarities
between this license and communism. The resulting economic properties, however,
are similar to those of Chinese-style socialism: both resulted from an increased
separation of legal and economic ownership. The phenomenal growth of China in
the last twenty five years and of such software in the past few years could
be attributed to such separation.

Open Source as a Complex Adaptive System

Author: Muffatto, Moreno & Matteo Faldani

The Open Source community and its activities can be considered to have the characteristics
of a system. The Open Source system is distinctive because it is neither controlled
by a central authority that defines strategy and organization nor totally chaotic.
It can be placed at a middle position between a planned system and a chaotic
one. In this sort of position there are non-formal rules which allow the system
to produce significant results. The Complex Adaptive System theory can be used
to better understand and analyze the Open Source system. This work presents
a description of the main characteristics of the functioning of the Open Source
community regarding its organizational structure and development process. The
concept of complex adaptive system is then introduced and its functioning mechanisms
briefly described. Finally, we will interpret the characteristics of the Open
Source community in the context of complex adaptive systems theory.

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