When Open Source goes wrong

As open-source software programs mature and become commercial products, the work of developing them naturally shifts, to one degree or another, from the original community of unpaid volunteers to professional programmers who are employed and paid by companies, in particular the companies that profit from selling services related to the installation and upkeep of the software. What Yochai Benkler calls “social production,” the system of creating goods through freely donated labor rather than through labor that’s purchased and controlled by corporations, begins, inevitably, to break down. You get, instead, a system in which paid workers and volunteers labor together, though not necessarily toward the same goal, in an uneasy alliance. Some may call this a hybrid system. Others may call it a corrupted one.

Visit Nicholas Carr’s blog, RoughType for more. Commentary from ZDNet.

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Filed under Business 2.0, Open Source

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