[Air-l] 4 new papers on opensource.mit.edu and we have reached the 100 paper mark!

Karim R. Lakhani lakhani at MIT.EDU
Sun Jul 13 18:14:24 PDT 2003

Hi All,

Just wanted to let you know that I have posted the following four papers 
on our website.  Thanks to the authors for their submissions.  We now 
have 100 papers related to open source and free software on our website 
from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.  Many, many thanks from 
Eric von Hippel and me to everyone who has submitted papers and made 
this site a success!  Please keep sending more of your work to us!



Paper 1

Iannacci, Federico

The Linux Managing Model
This study focuses on the distinguishing traits of the Linux managing 
model. It introduces the concept of process to capture the idea of 
impermanence, dissolvability and change. Far from being a predictable 
flow of programming, assembling and releasing activities, it is 
suggested that the Linux development process displays a stream of 
activities that keep feeding back into each other, thus creating a 
complex and unpredictable outcome. The paper further introduces the 
concept of contingent response patterns to investigate the interaction 
flows occurring on the Linux mailing lists and subsume patch postings, 
bug reports and the associated reviewing and debugging activities under 
its umbrella. The enactment-selection-retention (ESR) model is 
subsequently brought forward to conceptualize this process as enactment 
of programming skills subject to selection activities conducted by 
Torvalds who retains the selected features and feeds them back to the 
developers’ pool to undergo further enactment activities.

Paper 2
Lanzara, Giovan R & Michele Morner
The Knowledge Ecology of Open-Source Software Projects

In this paper we characterize the processes of knowledge making in 
open-source software projects as an ecology of agents, artifacts, rules, 
resources, activities, practices and interactions. In order to grasp its 
dynamic features we consider open-source software projects as 
interactive systems based on dense interactions between humans and 
technical artifacts within electronic media. Technology, rather than 
formal or informal organization, embodies most of the conditions for 
governance in open-source software projects, hence becoming a critical 
pathway to the understanding of collective task accomplishment, 
coordination and knowledge making processes. Based on an in-depth 
analysis of two open-source software projects, we examine three kinds of 
artifacts, respectively inscribing technical, organizational, and 
institutional knowledge. Our preliminary findings support the ecological 
view, that the contradictory requirements of innovation and stability in 
project-based knowledge making are balanced by mechanisms of variation, 
selection, and stabilization.

Paper 3
Nichols, David M, Dana McKay & Michael Twidale

Participatory Usability: supporting proactive users

After software has been released the opportunities for users to 
influence development can often be limited. In this paper we review the 
research on post-deployment usability and make explicit its connections 
to open source software development. We describe issues involved in the 
design of end-user reporting tools with reference to the Safari web 
browser and a digital library prototype.

Paper 4
Nichols, David M & Michael Twidale

Usability and Open Source Software

Open source communities have successfully developed many pieces of 
software although most computer users only use proprietary applications. 
The usability of open source software is often regarded as one reason 
for this limited distribution. In this paper we review the existing 
evidence of the usability of open source software and discuss how the 
characteristics of open-source development influence usability. We 
describe how existing human-computer interaction techniques can be used 
to leverage distributed networked communities, of developers and users, 
to address issues of usability.

Karim R. Lakhani
MIT Sloan School of Management
The Boston Consulting Group, Strategy Practice Initiative
e-mail: karim.lakhani at sloan.mit.edu | lakhani.karim at bcg.com
voice:  617-851-1224
fax:    617-344-0403
http://opensource.mit.edu | http://freesoftware.mit.edu

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