Social and Political Infrastructure

Another chapter of the book “Producing Open Source Software” by Karl Fogel, discusses the types of structures that can be taken for decision-making and clarification task management within a community of free software. In this sense it presents two methods most often used for the political structure of such communities:

1 – Benevolent Dictator (DB): This model is based on the figure of a role in charge of taking decisions which are of great importance to the community. This person should be someone with great expertise and high visibility in the community, with the objective that has the best knowledge to make appropriate decisions for purposes of the community. It’s a pretty model used in new projects.

2 – Democracy based on consensus: a group of people, usually people more involved in community decision-makers exposed and discussed together, by consensus. Usually accompanied with a voting system for decisions they can not get a consensus among the group.

From my point of view, the most important of this chapter is to present these two models, which may be relatively obvious to most people, but because it shows that these structures must be defined a priori and show them to the community not only because free software projects most of the information should be public, but also to obtain the references that people are taking project decisions. One issue that I find curious in this chapter, is that according to Fogel, a factor that makes the good developers to participate in a free software project is the possibility of a Fork (forkability), ie the ability of a any person to obtain the source code and start a new project, because it prevents true dictators exist in a project, allowing anyone to pursue other goals if we do not agree with the line of people who manage a project, such as has occurred with LibreOffice.





  1. Social and Political Infrastructure « FreeWorld -Political Fund USA


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