The Social Glue in Open Source: Incomplete Contracts and Informal Credits

This is a chapter for a book published by IGI Global. DON'T BUY THE BOOK, THOUGH; drop me an email, I have a copy of my article on file.

05/2008: Matthias Bärwolff

Publikationstyp: Artikel
Publikationssprache: Englisch
Kategorie(n): Verschiedenes


Open source has of late been discussed as a most significant institutional disruption to the way software and, indeed, digital content in general evolves and dissipates through society. Credits and their due redemption play a vital yet often underrated role in the development and dissemination of open source. While credits in open source development are often of a rather elusive and informal nature (goodwill, reputation, indirect effects) formal credits have their inevitable role, too. On the one hand, less formal kinds of credits than money and the like often provide for a relatively efficient and viable way of accounting for credits in the development of large and complex software and technology projects. On the other hand, at the intersection of developer communities with end users there is a distinct need for formal money based interactions, because informal contracts and credit redemption do work well in communities but less so in anonymous market contexts.