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I'm very interested in the open source movement's culture and am writing a paper for a Sociology of Culture class on the topic. (I'm also a budding Mandrake user and student soon to be learning programming for a cognitive science degree.) Is there anything you could recommend I look at or make sure to place emphasis on? Any assistance you could offer would be greatly appreciated!
"I'm very interested in the open source movement's culture and am writing a paper for a Sociology of Culture class on the topic. (I'm also a budding Mandrake user and student soon to be learning programming for a cognitive science degree.) Is there anything you could recommend I look at or make sure to place emphasis on? "
I recommend that you read "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" by Eric Raymond.
Thank you for your help Steve!
I've checked out a lot of Raymond's essays, and found them quite useful. The Cathedral and the Bazaar seems to ultimately be about the two kinds of software (open and "closed" source) in terms of economics models (eg software development for business). (Although he does break from the larger picture on occasion, like to mention that software code is based on a programmer's desire to "scratch an itch.")
What I'm mostly interested in is the people side of open source. How are people who use open source different from MS users (apart from the obvious technical problems with MS and not wanting to be a sheep under the watchful eye of Mr. Gates, the shepherd)? How is the Linux community a distinct entity, not just in terms of software, but as a social group? Are the foundations of the community really as political as they seem?
Originally posted by jschiwal
I think the collaborative design model should be emphasized more then the free part. You might want to look at how this is a byproduct of the internet.
Absolutely! That is what makes the linux community so interesting. Instead of what one might think of as a traditional social group, which would involve mostly face-to-face interaction, the linux community is almost solely a product of online groups such as the one we're on now. This seems to be one of the many changing faces of social interaction. It also seems unique that linux people are so consistantly supportive and helpful with people that they likely will never actually meet. How do you find the interactions you have with people online to be different from those you would have in more traditional contexts?
Interesting thread. I can't speak of the bigger picture, only from personal experience..
I came to Linux partly by chance - I was thoroughly cheesed off with Windows ME's unreliability and happened on a magazine cover disk featuring Mandrake 9. Out of curiosity I installed it.. then found that I had lots of tools available for my web design studies - Apache, PHP, etc. And I also found that I could do a day's work without rebooting..
The biggest thing, though, was the tremendous support from the community in this forum and one or two others - I really needed that help in the beginning, and was heartened by the sheer enthusiasm and sense of 'community'.
Linux and the Open source movement are about freedom. Microsoft covers up anything they can. They don't want people to know what makes windows work. They only provide enough documentation to make windows work. They're so secretive that they even try to cover up security holes in their OS. They are a multi-billion dollar buisness in a world where money talks.
However, money doesn't talk to everyone, and oftimes people don't like being left in the dark. That's what makes the Linux formula work. You can know exactly how linux works.
As horrible as the world may sound at times there are decent people who like putting in the hard work to develop for, document and assist in the use of Linux with little or no praise. In Linus Torvalds book "Just for Fun" (might be good to read for your report) he talks about how surprising the interest was, even initially, in linux. People want to see other people succeed and want to help in anyway they can. I'm still fairly new to Linux but I feel a sense of joy and over all accomplishment when I help someone fix a problem that I've had. And it's also nice to know that there are people who are willing to help me.
People may be initially attracted to Linux for various reasons like grievences with Windows, Having old hardware they want to use, some odd ball project, but in the end the result is pretty much the same. They got help and want to help other people.
dawg76; um interesting quest! my 2 cents; after reading Linus Tovald start from univ student to entrpenuer extraordiner along with fellow students,
that started such a following and powerful but openess that begun a wave of followers unpretensiuosness.
You now have all these multitude of operating systems that have users from all over the world calmering to use with out restain from corporate greed. it has
the 1 world largest corp. , rethinking its
stance. suggest reading the beginings of L. Tovald and how it has affected the pc world. no suggestions other than the
excerts from most linux texts that have references of that.