Considering the use of walled gardens for FLOSS project communication

TitleConsidering the use of walled gardens for FLOSS project communication
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSquire, M
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Secondary TitleOpen Source Systems: Towards Robust Practices 13th International Conference on Open Source Systems
Series TitleIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Date Published05/2017
Keywordsapache, chat, communication, email, free software, irc, mailing list, open source, Slack, Stack Overflow, teams, Wordpress

At its core, free, libre, and open source software (FLOSS) is defined by its adherence to a set of licenses that give various freedoms to the users of the software, for example the ability to use the software, to read or modify its source code, and to distribute the software to others. In addition, many FLOSS projects and developers also champion other values related to "freedom" and "openness", such as transparency, for example in communication and decision-making, or community-orientedness, for example in broadening access, collaboration, and participation. This paper explores how one increasingly common software development practice - communicating inside non-archived, third-party "walled gardens" - puts these FLOSS values into conflict. If communities choose to use non-archived walled gardens for communication, they may be prioritizing one type of openness (broad participation) over another (transparency). We use 18 FLOSS projects as a sample to describe how walled gardens are currently being used for intra-project communication, as well as to determine whether or not these projects provide archives of these communications. Findings will be useful to the FLOSS community as a whole as it seeks to under- stand the evolution and impact of its communication choices.

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