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The Success of Open Source

The Success of Open Source By Steven Weber
2004 | 321 Pages | ISBN: 0674012925 | DJVU | 2 MB

"The Success of Open Source"

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The Success of Open Source

The Success of Open Source By Steven Weber
2004 | 321 Pages | ISBN: 0674012925 | DJVU | 2 MB

The author takes a Political Economics perspective that raises two important questions about Open Source: 1) Why do people participate without traditional incentive mechanisms (coercion and money)? 2) How does a largely unstructured mass produce a useful output, without the benefit of traditional coordination mechanisms (the firm and the market)?The text includes a very interesting history of the Open Source movement. As a Business Analyst (BA), this was particularly interesting to me, because the focus is on the processes through which conflicts were resolved (or not). Since all projects experience conflict over goals, choice of solutions, pace of progress, or personality (to name just a few), this presentation is relevant to just about any project (not just open source projects).Ultimately the author generates a picture of an alternative organizing principle (or set of principles) that underlies successful initiatives operating in conditions that characterize Open Source projects. As a BA, with interests in process in general, not just in software development processes, the larger ramifications of this alternate organizing principle are quite interesting. For example, at one point the author considers religious traditions as comparable to open source code bases. The comparison works because most religions have been re-organized as access to some body of wisdom literature, making them "non-excludable and non-rival" (as opposed to access to e.g. religious ceremony). That is, anybody who wants to read the Gospels or the Upanishads can, and their reading does not preclude another individual from reading the same source. This has consequences for the organization of the religious community in fact the same consequences faced by the open source community (and especially its leadership).At another point the author maps open source organizational style to the field of International Relations, finding it useful to contrast a "network" organizational style with the traditional "hierarchy" organizational style that formal governments share with the Firm (the closed-source analogue). Particularly interesting is the insight that the space in which organizations of the two styles interact is unmapped, yet vital to emerging conditions in the 21st century.I think this book will appeal to many different audiences for very different reasons. If you want a better understanding of the history and social dynamics, I highly recommend this book. For BAs looking for something they can immediately apply in the realm of proprietary (hierarchically organized) initiatives, there are other texts available. However Project Managers, who often need to operate without direct supervisorial authority, despite the larger organization's hierarchical structure, should find the discussion of the nature of open source leadership (along with the case studies of its success and failure) quite helpful in their own work.

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Tags: Success, Open, Source