Open Source Software Communities

Open Source Software Communities

Kevin Carillo, Chitu Okoli
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 5
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-563-4.ch069
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Open source software (OSS) development has continued to appear as a puzzling and enigmatic phenomenon and has drawn increasing attention as its importance has grown. Relying upon an alternative way to develop and to distribute software, open source communities have been able to challenge and often outperform proprietary software by enabling better reliability, lower costs, shorter development times, and a higher quality of code (Raymond, 2004). Behind the software is a mass of people working together in loose coordination, even portrayed as a rowdy marketplace (Raymond, 2001, p. 1): No quiet, reverent cathedral-building here—rather, the Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches … out of which a coherent and stable system seemingly emerges only by a succession of miracles. More precisely, the people behind open source projects have been defined as: “Internet-based communities of software developers who voluntarily collaborate in order to develop software that they or their organizations need” (von Krogh, 2003, p. 14). In contrast to the sacred cathedral-like software development model that gave birth to most commercial and proprietary systems, such bazaar-like communities seem to have based their success on a pseudo-anarchic type of collaboration and developers’ interaction (Raymond, 2001). However, in spite of the apparent disorganization of these bazaars, a closer look distinguishes common values and norms that rule them, specific roles that can be identified, similar motives shared by people, and practices that follow patterns. This article highlights key aspects of what forms the communities that support these projects.

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