What is the status of the Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) revolution? Has the creation of software that can be freely used, modified, and redistributed transformed industry and society, as some predicted, or is this transformation still a work in progress? Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software brings together leading analysts and researchers to address this question, examining specific aspects of F/OSS in a way that is both scientifically rigorous and highly relevant to real-life managerial and technical concerns.
The book analyzes a number of key topics: the motivation behind F/OSS—why highly skilled software developers devote large amounts of time to the creation of "free" products and services; the objective, empirically grounded evaluation of software—necessary to counter what one chapter author calls the "steamroller" of F/OSS hype; the software engineering processes and tools used in specific projects, including Apache, GNOME, and Mozilla; the economic and business models that reflect the changing relationships between users and firms, technical communities and firms, and between competitors; and legal, cultural, and social issues, including one contribution that suggests parallels between "open code" and "open society" and another that points to the need for understanding the movement's social causes and consequences.
About the Editors
Joseph Feller is Lecturer in Business Information Systems, University College Cork, Ireland.
Brian Fitzgerald holds the Frederick A. Krehbiel II Chair in Innovation in Global Business and Technology at the University of Limerick, where he is also Vice President of Research.
Scott A. Hissam is Senior Member of the Technical Staff, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University.
Karim R. Lakhani is a doctoral candidate in management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group, and cofounder of the MIT Open Source Research Project.
"This important and wide-ranging collection illuminates the social, economic, technical, and legal processes propelling the fantastic growth of free and open source softward."
—Mitchell Kapor, President and Chair, Open Source Applications Foundation
"The most comprehensive and objective book on free and open source software and the open source development process I have yet encountered. This book contains a fabulous collection of previously unpublished articles by top researchers and practitioners who are close to the phenomenon. The authors approach the topic from multiple perspectives: individual motivation, software engineering, development practices, business and economics, the law, and society. Individual articles are scientifically rigorous, yet free of jargon and accessible to non-specialists. But most of all, they are fascinating! Anyone who is striving to understand—or is simply curious about—the many dimensions of free and open source software should read this book."
—Carliss Y. Baldwin, William L. White Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, coauthor of Design Rules: The Power of Modularity
"An excellent international and interdisciplinary repository of the latest research and thinking on free and open software movements and practices. With this intellectual miracle, the editors and contributors pave the way to a new open science paradigm."
—Claudio Ciborra, London School of Economics and IULM, Milan, author of The Labyrinths of Information
"From fringe movement to multibillion-dollar market, free software shows how new modes of production and distribution will change technology, and transform society, in the 21st century. This book contains the words of those who made it happen, those who study why it happened, and those who ineffectively resisted the most surprising social movement of our time. An indispensable introduction to the how and why of the free software revolution."
—Eben Moglen, Professor of Law, Columbia University, and Founder, Free Software Foundation
"Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software is the most comprehensive collection of writings on open source software that I have seen. The authors tackle the difficult questions that surround its success, from what motivates developers to write software for free to how companies can incorporate the best of the open source model into their environments."
—Martin Fink, Vice President, Linux, Hewlett-Packard