A Socio-Cultural Perspective on the Free and Open Source Software Movement

April 30, 2007

This paper examines the history, leading figures, and sub-culture of the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement from a socio-cultural perspective. It makes the argument that the evolution of FOSS movement is an interactional process between the socio-cultural environment and the ideas, negotiations, proposals, strategies, and overall leadership of leading figures of the FOSS movement. The openness and distributed nature of FOSS movement has already played a vital role in the current swell of knowledge sharing in both higher education and industry. As a social, political, and economic flattener of the 21st century, the FOSS movement may evolve into a powerful cultural artifact or tool that can help in efforts to break down walls of mistrust, resentment, or animosity among competing individuals or groups. It might also flatten the world of learning by providing freely available and widely accessed teaching and learning tools.

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