Open collaboration practices in software culture and its impact in the networked society
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Open collaboration practices in software culture and its impact in networked society
Recent software history has provided one of the most powerful metaphors through the philosophy of FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software), which has been applied to several fields. In it, old collaborative practices have been re-framed into an open exchange of information rationale adequate for the network society. With that concern in mind, this dissertation project addresses collaboration practices in software culture from a historical and critical perspective, describing how these practices evolved until becoming such a versatile discourse. In doing so, it also pursues to state the materiality of software, drawing from the premise of originary technicity and characterizing software as a technology, though a very problematic one. The question of the evolution of these practices entails a complex socio-technical system that lies on the intersection between computer science, software engineering and software studies, therefore calling for a multidisciplinary approach. The first part deals with the philosophy of technology, as a way to understand the unstable nature of software. A second part takes on the historical path to offer several examples of how collaborative practices were present along software history and how they were affected by socio technical conditions that led to the modern idea behind FLOSS. A third part addresses specifically artifacts of the FLOSS model of software development (such as standards, repositories, issue tracking systems etc.), and a fourth part discusses the so-called “Maker culture” as a case study - using the concept of open hardware as a starting point – by tracing the similarities and differences between this model of personal fabrication and the FLOSS metaphor. To support the latter claim, a qualitative small field study is planned to provide some pragmatical insight from practitioners on how open collaboration is perceived in this field.
Prof. Dr. Georg Trogemann
A production of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.
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