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Towards an understanding of FLOSS: infrastructures, materiality and the digital business ecosystem

By Mary L. Darking and Edgar A. Whitley


In this paper we present empirical work detailing the engagement practices of a large FLOSS project, the Digital Business Ecosystem (DBE). In common with many other FLOSS projects, the DBE project focused on the development of infrastructural software components. Infrastructures and FLOSS software exhibit multiplicity: as objects they both change and stay the same. Whilst the implications of multiplicity with respect to infrastructure have been well-documented, with respect to FLOSS, they remain under-explored. Through examining how the DBE engaged new participants we were able to explore the nature of the FLOSS software object by asking the implied question: engagement with what? We draw on recent analysis by Law and Singleton to show how the innovative yet non-existent potentiality of the DBE was as significant to engagement as its steadily growing codebase. We argue that acknowledging the materiality and immateriality of the FLOSS software object has important consequences for management of, and engagement with, FLOSS projects

Topics: T Technology (General)
Publisher: Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies
Year: 2007
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Provided by: LSE Research Online
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