[ox-en] Participation in Free Software (was: Re: Definition of peer production)
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 09:11:06 +0100
Hi Michel and all!
2 weeks (20 days) ago Michael Bouwens wrote:
with the aim to
achieve maximum participation of equipotential
This is what puzzles me a bit. In Free Software it is usually not the
aim of a project to maximize participation. Often some participation
is seen as useful probably but participation is not an aim in the
sense of an end in itself. I guess we need to be more precise here.
ARE YOU SURE about his? In my understanding: free software wants to
open up cooperation to all with the right skills and inclinations,
Yes. But this is not what I understand by maximum participation.
Maximum participation to me means the general public may participate
which is more or less the opposite of the selection criteria you gave
without credentialist limits (i.e. scientific peer review
selections, diploma's, etc..).
To this I'd agree also - though (informal) peer review selection
probably plays a role here.
And, as non-propietary distribution,
it is open to all as well.
May be we have to distinguish different aims here.
For instance all the Free BSD variants out there address only a small
piece of the "market" share of Free operating systems. To strive for
maximum participation even on the distribution side would be
frustrating for BSD people. Nonetheless there is a very active BSD
community developing all those BSD type operating systems on and on.
On the other hand projects like KDE or so probably aim at a wide
So, in my view, it is definitely about
Well, may be we have different notions here.
Also I'm somewhat sceptical about the equipotential. It's probably
true that bright contributors are welcomed but on the other hand there
usually is a governance structure where not everybody has the same
rights. Also equipotential only makes sense in an abstract way because
the potential of a web designer can not be compared to a programmer
AREN'T FS PROJECTS very modular, so that the best skills can be
matched to the precise modules, and the process to achieve this is
very open, is it not, compared to corporate selection?
Well, being employed in software firms for quite some time now I think
the more successful ones do these things more by letting people find
their way than by forcing them onto some way. Software production as
such does not work well with a authoritarian style. This has to do
with the creative nature of the activity and as such is an inalienable
feature of the act of producing software.
However, being effective in different areas is to me the opposite to
On the other
hand, there is governance with a relative and flexible hierarchy,
based on those that have had the vision to create the project, the
highest skill andn experience level, etc.. These form the core, vs.
a more distributed periphery of cooperators.
But this is not equipotential then, is it.
May be we have a different notion of equipotential either.
if the production is managed through peer governance,
not through market allocation or corporate hierarchy
Would it be possible to abstract this to something like alienated
forces or may be forces external to the project and its goals?
YES, I WOULD agree with that abstraction.
We are gaining common ground :-) .
Mit Freien Grüßen
Please note this message is written on an offline laptop
and send out in the evening of the day it is written. It
does not take any information into account which may have
reached my mailbox since yesterday evening.
Contact: projekt oekonux.de