Functioning of a Free Software

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* Article: The Functioning of a Free Software Community: Entanglement of Three Regulation Modes – Control, Autonomous and Distributed Didier Demazière, François Horn and Marc Zune



"The ability to build solid and coherent software from spontaneous, sudden and evanescent involvement is viewed as an enigma by sociologists and economists. The internal heterogeneity of project contributors questions the functioning of collective action: how can commitments that are so dissimilar be put together? Our objective is to consider FLOSS communities as going concerns which necessitate a minimum of order and common, shared, social rules to function. Through an in-depth and diachronic analysis of the Spip project, we present two classical modes of social regulation: a control regulation centred on the product and an autonomous regulation refl ecting the differentiated commitments. Our data shows that the meaning, value and legitimacy of contributors’ involvements are defi ned and rated more collectively, through exchanges, judgments, and evaluations. A third regulation mode, called distributed community regulation and aimed at creating and transforming shared rules that produces recognition and stratifi cation, is then presented."