Open Source Software KCB201 Virtual Cultures Dr Axel Bruns [email_address]
How Software Works <ul><li>Layers of software: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>source code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>programmin...
Open Source <ul><li>Software development: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>closed source model (e.g. Windows, Office, Internet Explor...
The Linux Story <ul><li>Linux: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>highly successful operating system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>alterna...
Motivations <ul><li>What motivates open source participants? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ scratching that itch” ( Eric Raymond ...
<ul><li>Image:  Wikipedia </li></ul>
How Open Source Works <ul><li>Key assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>everyone has a contribution to make </li></ul></ul><u...
Pros and Cons of Open Source <ul><li>Benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>potentially faster development: larger team of develo...
Open Source as Produsage <ul><li>Key aspects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ user innovation network” (von Hippel,  Feller et al....
Open News and Open Source <ul><li>Open source in its own words: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The basic idea behind open source is v...
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KCB201 Week 9 Slidecast: Open Source Software

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Week 9 Slidecast for KCB201 Virtual Cultures in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, semester 1/2008.

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  • KCB201 Week 9 Slidecast: Open Source Software

    1. 1. Open Source Software KCB201 Virtual Cultures Dr Axel Bruns [email_address]
    2. 2. How Software Works <ul><li>Layers of software: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>source code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>programming instructions in human-readable languages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. “read file from disk”, “display on screen”, “print” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>machine code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>source code compiled into machine-readable instructions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. series of bits and bytes </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>software package </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>machine code and related documents packaged as CD/DVD-ROM or downloadable file </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>help files, images, sounds, installer instructions, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Users buy or download software packages </li></ul>
    3. 3. Open Source <ul><li>Software development: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>closed source model (e.g. Windows, Office, Internet Explorer): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>source code remains confidential </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>non-disclosure agreements and other IP protections </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>software development mainly in-house, by paid staff teams </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>development goals set by software company </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>business model is selling finished software packages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>software production </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>open source model (e.g. Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>source code freely and openly available </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>anyone can see it, edit it, use it, under limited-rights licence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>software development by teams of volunteers in the community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>development goals set by community, ‘forking’ is possible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>business model is providing services around the software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>software produsage </li></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. The Linux Story <ul><li>Linux: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>highly successful operating system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>alternative to Windows, especially for high-end / critical uses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>available for wide variety of platforms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1991: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Finnish IT student Linus Torvalds develops experimental Linux kernel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Torvalds makes kernel source code freely available online </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Torvalds invites others to test, modify, and share it, under open source licence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1992ff.: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>communities of Linux developers form and grow </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1993-4: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>various Linux ‘forks’ (Debian, Slackware, Red Hat) focus on specific uses and users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>today: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Linux widely used especially in the server market – ~30% market share </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Motivations <ul><li>What motivates open source participants? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ scratching that itch” ( Eric Raymond ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Those that expressed enjoyment and learning as primary motivators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fixing necessary code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Those that simply need the code to satisfy non-work-related user needs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developing and showcasing skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Those that have work-related needs and career concerns </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>contributing to the greater good of the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Those that feel an obligation to the community and believe that software should be free/open </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. combination of individual and altruistic motivations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>( Feller et al. , p. xix) </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Image: Wikipedia </li></ul>
    7. 7. How Open Source Works <ul><li>Key assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>everyone has a contribution to make </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. code changes, beta testing, error reports, feature requests, documentation, community leadership </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>community involvement more likely if community experimentation is encouraged </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. limited success if project direction is determined from above </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>users will contribute if to do so is easy and beneficial for them and all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. combination of self-interest and altruistic motives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shared ownership of the project is crucial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. contributions less likely if they only benefit a commercial software publisher </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Compare to key preconditions for produsage: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>equipotential users: everybody knows something </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>probabilistic processes: someone will find a solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>granular tasks: even small contributions add up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shared content: nobody will exploit the community </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Pros and Cons of Open Source <ul><li>Benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>potentially faster development: larger team of developers (no “resource horizon”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ability to explore multiple solutions quickly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>development in direct response to user requests and suggestions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>immediate release of new revisions (commercial considerations irrelevant) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>greater transparency – no hidden functionality, clearly documented file standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>zero cost for software purchases or upgrades </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>survival of open source project depends on size and viability of community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>development mostly in areas of interest to community majority (“interest horizon”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lack of financial support for marketing or solving ‘dull’ problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>switching costs from commercial software to open source </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>pro-am model: companies investing in open source and offering services </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Open Source as Produsage <ul><li>Key aspects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ user innovation network” (von Hippel, Feller et al. ch. 14) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ networked-enabled collaboration” (O’Reilly, Feller et al. ch. 24) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ architecture of participation” (O’Reilly, Feller et al. ch. 24) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Produsage principles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>open participation, communal evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>project is open for anyone to make contributions (which are tested by the community) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>fluid heterarchy, ad hoc meritocracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>constructive contributors grow in community esteem and influence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unfinished artefacts, continuing process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>project is never finished, always under development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>common property, individual rewards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>project is only feasible with open source licencing, but individuals can benefit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Open source as early precursor to wider produsage trends… </li></ul>
    10. 10. Open News and Open Source <ul><li>Open source in its own words: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the Software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing. </li></ul><ul><li>“ We in the open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits.” </li></ul><ul><li>( Opensource.org ) </li></ul>

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