TITLE

Free and Open-Source Software is not an Emerging Property but Rather the Result of Studied Design

AUTHOR(S)
Magrassi, Paolo
PUB. DATE
January 2010
SOURCE
Proceedings of the International Conference on Intellectual Capi;2010, p285
SOURCE TYPE
Conference Proceeding
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Free and open source software (FOSS) is considered by many, along with Wikipedia, the proof of an ongoing paradigm shift from hierarchically-managed and market-driven production of knowledge to heterarchical, collaborative and commons-based production styles. In such perspective, it has become common place to refer to FOSS as a manifestation of collective intelligence where deliverables and artefacts emerge by virtue of mere cooperation, with no need for supervising leadership. We show that this assumption is based on limited understanding of the software development process, and may lead to wrong conclusions as to the potential of peer production. The development of a less than trivial piece of software, irrespective of whether it be FOSS or proprietary, is a complex cooperative effort requiring the participation of many (often thousands of) individuals. A subset of the participants always play the role of leading system and subsystem designers, determining architecture and functionality; the rest of the people work "underneath" them in a logical, functional sense. While new and powerful forces, including FOSS, are clearly at work in the post-industrial, networked economy, the currently ingenuous stage of research in the field of collective intelligence and networked cooperation must give way to a deeper level of consciousness, which requires an understanding of the software development process.
ACCESSION #
59352528

 

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