Free Software Development: Cooperation and Conflict in a Virtual Organizational Culture
Margaret S. Elliott (University of California, Irvine, USA) and Walt Scacchi (University of California, Irvine, USA)
Copyright: © 2005
This chapter presents an empirical study of a free software development community and how its virtual organizational culture influences its work practices. Results show that beliefs in free software and freedom of choice, and values in cooperative work and community influence work practices and norms. The authors wish to convey the importance of understanding the deeply held beliefs and values of the free software movement by showing how a free software development community uses computer-mediated communication in the form of IRC (instant messaging), mailing lists, and summary digests to mitigate and resolve conflicts, build a community, reinforce beliefs, and facilitate teamwork. Results are intended to assist future contributors and managers of free/open source software development projects in understanding the social world surrounding free/open source software development.