We the natives

I remember back in the late 80’s walking around saying things like “someone should write a sociology thesis about this internet stuff.” Lo and behold, people did. Similarly in the last decade, open source seemed to all involved as something worthy of academic study. So when I read Siobhan O’Mahony’s paper on The Role of Non-Profit Foundations in Community-Firm Software Collaboration (PDF), I felt somewhat like any subject of an ethnographic study must feel when the academics poke at them to try and understand their odd ways. From my point of view (especially with respect to the Python Software Foundation), O’Mahony does a great job of analyzing the interactions between the various actors. There’s more to be said, of course, but it’s a good start. O’Mahony is one of the more cogent analysts of the sociology of open source, and is someone I’ll keep an eye on.

From a different academic perspective, seek out talks by Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, who does a good job of explaining how open source is interesting from a macroeconomic viewpoint given the disparities among world economies. Rishab is also the founder of First Monday, a publication that I somehow only recently heard about. Great material.