Class 14: Open Source and the Commons

In today’s class, we discussed some of the open source projects, specifically Linux, Firefox, and Wikipedia. These examples illustrate the concept of collaborate working behind the open source movement and contribute to something Lievrouw calls “commons knowledge.” This level of knowledge is perhaps best characterized as flexible, dynamic and egalitarian. This form of knowledge production differs from the top-down system of knowledge produced by professional experts.

The movement has produced numerous advances but also many problems that are inherent to a relatively decentralized mode of production. To borrow Eric Raymond’s metaphors, the cathedral maybe be beautiful and ordered, but it is a closed system. However, the bazaar offers variety yet it might lack the elegance of the cathedral. Is exchanging quality for dynamism a fair trade?

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  1. Pingback: Wikipedia Turns 11 | Juan Monroy

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