Working In Public
The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software
[...] software can be understood as both artifact and organism. The rules of the 'information economy,' like patents and licenses, lend themselves well to commoditized content, but when content is a living organism its value is better measured in terms of people and relationships.
Open source software, in which developers publish code that anyone can use, has long served as a bellwether for other online behavior. In the late 1990s, it provided an optimistic model for public collaboration, but in the last 20 years it’s shifted to solo operators who write and publish code that's consumed by millions. In Working in Public, Nadia Eghbal takes an inside look at modern open source software development, its evolution over the last two decades, and its ramifications for an internet reorienting itself around individual creators. Eghbal, who interviewed hundreds of developers while working to improve their experience at GitHub, argues that modern open source offers us a model through which to understand the challenges faced by online creators.