Peer Participation and Software

What Mozilla Has to Teach Government

by David R. Booth

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Book Description

Firefox, a free Web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation, is used by an estimated 270 million people worldwide. To maintain and improve the Firefox browser, Mozilla depends not only on its team of professional programmers and managers but also on a network of volunteer technologists and enthusiasts - free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) developers - who contribute their expertise. This kind of peer production is unique, not only for its vast scale but also for its combination of structured, hierarchical management with open, collaborative volunteer participation. In this MacArthur Foundation Report, David Booth examines the Mozilla Foundation's success at organizing large-scale participation in the development of its software and considers whether Mozilla's approach can be transferred to government and civil society. Booth finds parallels between Mozilla's collaboration with Firefox users and the Obama administration's philosophy of participatory governance (which itself amplifies the much older Jeffersonian ideal of democratic participation). Mozilla's success at engendering part-time, volunteer participation that produces real marketplace innovation suggests strategies for organizing civic participation in communities and government. Mozilla's model could not only show us how to encourage the technical community to participate in civic life but also teach us something about how to create successful political democracy.

This open book is licensed under a Open Publication License (OPL). You can download Peer Participation and Software ebook for free in PDF format (3.6 MB).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Introduction
 
Chapter 2
Open Source
 
Chapter 3
Open Source at Mozilla
 
Chapter 4
Licensing
 
Chapter 5
Beyond Software
 

Book Details

Subject
Computer Science
Publisher
MIT Press
Published
2010
Pages
113
Edition
1
Language
English
ISBN13 Digital
9780262514613
ISBN10 Digital
0262514613
PDF Size
3.6 MB
License
Open Publication License

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