[glugot] [Frederick Noronha] Some fascinating essays on FLOSS

  • From: Joe Steeve <joe_steeve@xxxxxxx>
  • To: GLUGOT <glugot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 10:44:30 +0530

--- Begin Message ---
  • From: "Frederick Noronha (FN)" <fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ilug-goa@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 23:19:02 +0530 (IST)
---------- Forwarded message ----------

First Monday on FLOSS

Begin forwarded message:

The November 2004 issue of First Monday (volume 9, number 11) is now
available at http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_11/


Table of Contents

Volume 9, Number 11 - November 1st 2004

FLOSS at Large: Selected papers from the 4SEASST 2004 joint
conference, Paris, 25-28 August 2004

Introduction: FLOSS at Large
by Yuwei Lin


Opening the sources of accountability
by Shay David


This paper scrutinizes the concept of accountability in light of free
and open source software. On the view that increasing accountability
grants value to society by motivating those most likely and able to
prevent risk and harm to do so, I argue that while developing
software collaboratively, licensing it openly, and distributing its
source code freely are promising first steps in the long journey to
rehabilitate accountability in our highly computerized society, our
very understanding of what accountability is changes too. This paper
analyzes the concept of accountability in an open environment and
explores the implications in two mission-critical application fields
in which software plays a significant role - electronic voting, and
electronic medical records. It further considers the potential
remedies to accountability's erosion that free and open source
software offer, and the ways in which accountability can be
generalized to collective action if we understand it less as
punishability and more as a culture that encourages the prevention of
risk and harm. With such reconceptualized accountability in mind, I
find that code visibility, a self-imposed standard of care and
sensible licensing arrangements, are a potent, practical, and
effective alternative to the strict liability standards offered as a
solution to the accountability problem by earlier scholars.


FLOSS developers as a social formation
by Frauke Lehmann


Developers of Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) are often
referred to as a community or as a scene. But so far this seems
mostly just a rough expression. This paper takes a closer look at
FLOSS developers and their projects to find out how they work, what
holds them together and how they interact. Community and social
movement seem not to apply as descriptors. Looking at norms, values,
structures, and conflict resolution, a hacker subculture appears
which is compartmentalised into differently organised projects. By
testing empirical findings against various theoretical approaches,
ideas for further research are identified.


Contextualising knowledge-making in Linux user groups
by Yuwei Lin


A common critique on free/libre open source software (FLOSS) is that
FLOSS-oriented products, often mutated from or based on parallel
works, are not really innovative. FLOSS' development process and
subsequent products (e.g. software packages, maintaining services, or
the formation of user groups, etc.) definitely denote a kind of
innovation driving our world towards a knowledge-based society. This
perspective challenges the conventional notion of innovation in
technological and economic arenas from a glocalised perspective. I
argue that software development is not solely a matter of technical
engineering or economic progress. Rather, it also involves cultural,
social and political factors.


A case for Indian insourcing: Open Source interest in IT job
by Casey O'Donnell http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_11/odonnell/


The controversy surrounding the "off-shoring" of IT jobs from the
United States to other countries, in particular to India, has become
a focal point in American political discourse and has been widely
represented in the media. Disturbingly, little attention has been
paid to this occurrence beyond its implications for American
employment opportunities. Representing Indian and American IT workers
as unified groups whose interests are mutually exclusive and opposed
to one another is problematic given the material realities that
propel "outsourcing." Among the potential benefits of growing demand
for, and supply of, skilled IT workers is increased participation in
the Open Source Software (OSS) movement. Expanding global involvement
offers a significant opportunity for developing countries to
influence the direction, importance, and future of OSS.


Free software: Some Brazilian translations
by Alexandre Silva Pinheiro and Henrique Luiz Cukierman


We examine two histories in this paper. First, we briefly look at a
North American history, in which we look at the relationship of free
software with the founding principles of democracy. Second, we
examine recent Brazilian history, especially the most policy decision
to adopt free software, affirming technological autonomy. Democratic
ideals, defended by the free software movement, are transformed in
Brazilian politics, leading both to further free software development
and a stronger democracy.


The realities of Free/Libre/Open Source Software developers in Japan
and Asia by Hiroyuki Shimizu, Jun Iio, and Kazuo Hiyane


A variety of individuals around the world are furthering development
of Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) through the Internet. Why
do they participate in developers' communities and continue to
develop FLOSS? Is their treatment enough to sustain their activities?
Surveys, using online questionnaires, were conducted to answer these
questions to analyze the FLOSS movement sociologically. However these
surveys tend to focus on developers in the West. We decided to see if
there are regional differences in FLOSS development. To that end, we
conducted two surveys, the FLOSS-JP survey in Japanese and the FLOSS-
ASIA survey in other Asian languages. In this paper, we describe
regional differences, especially among Asian and Japanese FLOSS
developers and compare the results to those from Western FLOSS


Reducing transaction costs in information infrastructures using FLOSS
by Marcus Vinicius Brandao Soares


Firms, or more generally, organizations, develop and become larger
along time, using more and more computers to work. This growth in the
number of computers leads to a growth of software use (operating
systems and their applications, for example) and, as a result, to the
growth in the number of software use/access licenses to be purchased
and managed. For the owners of software intellectual property rights,
this process leads to a greater supervision of users to regulate
lawful access to software.

The situation occurs when all of the software used by an organization
is proprietary. This results in some costs - transaction costs - that
are not usually taken into account by administrators and managers.
What happens if FLOSS is used? We will show that this choice leads to
a reduction in transaction costs in terms of computation costs and in
terms of the number of managed contracts, which can be numerically
reduced by half.

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