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Journal cover: Information Technology & People

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Online from: 1982

Subject Area: Information and Knowledge Management

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Mobilization of software developers: the free software movement


Document Information:
Title:Mobilization of software developers: the free software movement
Author(s):Margaret S. Elliott, (Institute for Software Research, University of California, Irvine, California, USA), Walt Scacchi, (Institute for Software Research, University of California, Irvine, California, USA)
Citation:Margaret S. Elliott, Walt Scacchi, (2008) "Mobilization of software developers: the free software movement", Information Technology & People, Vol. 21 Iss: 1, pp.4 - 33
Keywords:Computer software, Product development, Public domain software, Worldwide web
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09593840810860315 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – The paper has three purposes: the first is to provide a deeper understanding of the ideology and work practices of free and open source software development, the second to characterize the free software movement as a new type of computerization movement and the third to present a conceptual diagram and framework with an analysis showing how the free software computerization movement has evolved into an occupational community.

Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative data were collected over a four year period using a virtual ethnography in a study of free and open source software development and, in particular, a study of a free software community, GNUenterprise, located at www.gnuenterprise.org, which has the goal of developing a free enterprise resource planning software system.

Findings – It is concluded that the ideology of the free software movement continues to be one of the factors which mobilize people to contribute to free and open source software development. This movement represents a new type of computerization movement which promotes the investment of time in learning a new software development process instead of investment of money in the acquisition and use of new technology.

Research limitations/implications – The research findings are limited by a detailed study of only one free software development project.

Practical implications – This paper is of significance to software developers and managers of firms who wish to incorporate free and open source software into their companies.

Originality/value – This research presents an original conceptual diagram and framework for how computerization movements have emerged into an occupational community.



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