The Social Production of Ethics in Debian and Free Software Communities: Anthropological Lessons for Vocational Ethics

The Social Production of Ethics in Debian and Free Software Communities: Anthropological Lessons for Vocational Ethics

E.G. Coleman (University of Chicago, USA) and Benjamin Hill (Debian Project, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-369-2.ch013
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Abstract

This chapter examines the way that participation in Free software projects increases commitments to information freedom among participants. With the Debian project as its core case study, it argues that in Free and Open Source software communities, ethics are reinforced through the sustained collaborative development of code and discussions and decisions around Free software licenses and project policy. In the final section, the chapter draws on the ethnographic analysis of ethical cultivation in Debian to describe a model of ethical volunteerism based on institutional independence, volunteer labor, and networks of trust that is applicable to a range of vocations.

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