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Hierarchy, laboratory and collective: unveiling Linux as innovation, machination and constitution

By Tony Cornford, Maha Shaikh and Claudio Ciborra


This paper considers the question of how the Linux open source collective structures and organizes itself as complexity and uncertainty increase. The study focuses on Version Control Software adoption in the Linux Kernel collective and the controversies it entails. The analysis draws on theory drawn from Science and Technology Studies and Actor Network Theory to consider the processes by which technology comes to play a role as an active agent within the collective. Through this approach the study helps to reveal how organizing occurs and how restructuring around technical means is negotiated based on constitutional as well as technical and performance criteria. What emerges from the analysis is the strong collective agency to which nonhuman actors contribute, and thus, their place at the core of open source activity

Topics: TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Publisher: The Association for Information Systems
Year: 2010
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Provided by: LSE Research Online
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