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Susan Kuang MGT 248 Business Ethics Due 3/17/2014 Final Paper Abstract: Open source projects of all

l sizes depend on communities of volunteer programmers to continue to maintain, improve on, and develop them. This type of project thrives on collaboration and therefore functions on a distinct organizational model based in the idea of common property. (Till, 2009) An initial topic of exploration in this paper will be the motivations for development in relation to Hume and the market assumptions it operates on in relation to Polanyi. The second topic of exploration will be the rights to proprietize derivatives of open source in relation to Lockes theories of appropriation and problems with piracy and attribution. The third topic of exploration will be the growth of open source software and the positive and negative effects of providing Open Source Software. This topic will be discussed in relation to Hardts discourse on the benefits of leaving intellectual property in common. Background & What Makes it Common Open source software projects are defined by the 3 primary characteristics. The first being free redistribution, meaning that the software can be redistributed with no restrictions except that the license must be included with it. The second characteristic is that the source code has to be included with the software or easily accessible by other means and cannot be presented in binary form or any other form obscuring its original construction. The third characteristic of open source software is that people are able to modify the software but must redistribute it with the same license. (Open Source Definition, 2010) Source code is the composition of a program, in its original language before being compiled into binary code to be executed. Once source code is translated to binary code by a compiler, its almost impossible to decipher the original code in which its written, allowing its composition to remain private knowledge. It keeps competitors from using the code in competing programs. Given that users are able to see the source code for proprietary software, they can customize a program to their preferences and fix bugs or create a new project derived from the original code. Although, this is an option for you to execute for your own use once you appropriate the source code and compile it, most programs have systems of governance in place restricting modifications to be made without community approval. Open source software doesnt usually allow users to make direct changes in the end product available to the public. The software generally has a community of moderators involved with the original development of the source code. (Muffato, 2006) Derivatives built on source code that was originally under a general public license inherits the GPL. This means that you have to release the source code of any derivative project to the public as well. You are however, able to copyright the code built to complement the original source code and the visual aspects youve added to it. This could mean add-ons like website templates that work around the platform of the application to structure the product and make it functional or fixes, since these dont necessarily use any part of the original source code. This is also applicable to apps on the iPhone or on Androids. (Lerner, 2005)

According to Hydes definition of the commons of immaterial property, an object or knowledge is in common where it has common use rights that are encumbered, preventing things from being readily available for private appropriation or trade. By this definition, although the executable end product of open source software may be able to be commercialized and sold, there is a free license to the knowledge constructing it. This fits Hydes description perfectly as the General Public License (GPL) is intended to encumber the use rights associated with the source code do it cant be privately appropriated or remodeled without attribution to alert the public of its availability in the commons of the internet. Models of Development & The Community Behind Open Source Software The development of open source software is primarily dependent on four varieties of developers that are the primary contributors to open source projects. Between the four varieties, there are three subgroups of developers. The three subgroups of developers first being need based developers, second being volunteer hobbyist developers and the third being commissioned developers. The need based developers primarily participate in open source software projects in order to fulfill needs that they may arise in the course of their work. They are driven to develop in order to contain the cost of needing to purchase proprietary software, to fix a bug or security flaw, or because such a feature for a particular software may not exist. They are general short term participants in this project and cease to develop once they have satisfied the purpose for which they need the software. (Shah, 2006) The hobbyists work on open source software often as a passion project because they enjoy writing code and the challenges of development. They choose to work only on things they found interesting. Since this is done out of enjoyment, these developers are often the most important contributors because they are long term participants and are often extremely detail oriented. They often ensure that their developments are clear and concise so that less skilled developers are able to follow, create backwards compatibility with older software releases, and scan source code and forums for the sake of discovering bugs. Hobbyist developers that generally have this capability are generally highly functioning programmers in their jobs but can also range down to unskilled volunteer programmers seeking to learn from the development of code. (Shah, 2006) The largest OSS projects, such as the development of Linux are backed by corporate sponsored developers from companies such as IBM, Intel, and Google. There are now over 220 derivatives of Linux with the original platform encouraging device software interoperability reaching over 11.5 million lines of code. (Edwards, 2010) The primary motivation for sponsoring from corporate entities is the potential for derivatives of open source software. (Ghemawat, 2006) Android was built on a Linux kernel 3.4, and is currently the most successful smartphone and tablet based operating system on the market taking over half the market share, now surpassing the Apple iOS. (Nielsen, 2013) In Eric Raymonds famed essay The Cathedral and The Bazaar, he describes two models of development being a cathedral and a bazaar. A cathedral is a centralized model in which the source code between public releases of is restricted only to an exclusive group of moderating developers. A bazaar however, gives the public full view to the source code in all phases of

developments and doesnt have clearly defined hierarchal roles. Two examples of bazaar development are Apache and Linux. (Raymond, 1999) The Motivation behind Open Source Software Open Source development is often referred to as the inverse tragedy of the commons because source code cant be depleted and developers are motivated to contribute their developments in the source to the common. (Shah, 2006) The intrinsic motivations behind this could be addressed by Humes theories on the three inconveniences suffered by man that necessitate society. Hume describes these three inconveniences as 1) the inability of individual force to execute considerable work, 2) the lack of ability to develop high skill in one area because of constant exertion in a variety of areas, and 3) the inequities of force and success with the risk of ruin and misery. Society in his opinion is able to remedy these problems because collective force results in an increase in power to accomplish, a partition of duties allows time for specialization and nurturing ability, and increased force dilutes the risk of misfortune thereby increasing security. He discusses that people, realizing these faculties seek to take advantage of them to increase their stability in possession. As a developer, you would not be able to successfully able to develop a complex open source initiative on your own. Therefore it is beneficial to contribute it and keep it in common because you either do not have the financial or human capital required to be successful independently. By releasing it in common and having others in the common assist in its maintenance each person is able to dedicate more time and skill to learning and developing one area of interest as opposed to diluting themselves into hundreds of separate patches of software development. This helps individual patches mature and become more specialized. With increased participation in these initiatives, it is guaranteed a higher chance at success because its development would hopefully be progressing at a pace that would make it competitive with similar software and the bugs and problems with the code would be able to be peer reviewed and discovered faster increasing the efficiency of development by reducing retrospective adjustments. (Hann, Roberts, Slaughter, 2006) There are two primary reasons a programmer contributes their developments to source projects as a public good as opposed to providing it as a commodity. The first problem with proprietizing the fix is that a small fix to a bug would be low in value meaning that the overhead of receiving the micropayments makes it economically unprofitable to do so. The second problem with proprietizing the fix is that it is hard to value given that the users would be disincentivized to try it since they dont know if it will effectively address their problem. Given this, the only two things the developer can do with his fix is to either hold onto his solution and gain nothing, or contribute it to the larger community. If he holds onto it, he may have to run into the problem of having to redevelop it to fit into a new release of a program, i.e. Linux, in the future which is a future time cost which is guaranteed since open source projects are constantly updating. If he contributes it now, it is likely that others who see its utility will continue to build on whatever feature of fix he has built so he can focus on new things without having to continually maintain it himself. (August and Tunay, 2006) Essentially, developments are contributed as a matter of social convention which Humes theories contend exists as a result mutual expectation to act in common interest. These social conventions reach into a discussion of Polanyis theories on the regulation of the economy prior to capitalism. (May, 2008)

The Governance in Open Source Software Polanyi states in the Societies and Economic Systems chapter of The Great Transformation that only very recently had the economy become reliant on the motive of gain and profit. Previously, the organization of the economy had been reliant on behaviors embedded in social relationships being reciprocity and symmetry, redistribution and centricity, and autarchy and householding. This form of economic regulation was a socialist form of organization where the means of distribution and exchange were regulated by the community. The form of economic regulation currently existent in American society is capitalism and free markets, where the organization of the markets is directed exclusively by prices. This structure operates on the expectation of individuals to act rationally to maximize their monetary gains. This assumes that all production is for sale on the market and that all income and profits are derived from prices. Proprietary software and its subsistence are reliant on the assumptions of a capitalist society whereas open source software is reliant on the simpler assumptions of a socialist society driven by social conventions. (Stewart, 2005) Open source technology is highly dependent on householding by need based developers. The economy of open source knowledge however is a matter of reciprocity and symmetry and redistribution and centricity. A developer submits their work to the open source project on the expectation that others will continually develop their work, providing the submitting party a later benefit as result of the efforts of the utilizing parties which is the idea of symmetry. Many developers submit developments to a chief governing body as in Polanyis example which redistributes the catch or the development work back to the community which reflects redistribution and centricity. People are then motivated to commit their work, no matter how minute, in a desire for the sustainability of the project as a whole. By submitting their labor to the sustainability of the commons, they then have a justified claim to the fruits of the community as well. (Till, 2010) In his writing on the commons, Hyde suggests that there are systems of governance protecting the commons from transgressions. This is once again based off of obligations to neighbor and community as well as obligations to spiritual and public duty. Hyde listed an example as feudal rights. Although there was an overlord, the commons were managed collectively and the lord had limited control over changing how they operated. Open Source Software technology has a governing body of moderators deciding what ends up in final kernels. Once you have developed features you like for the software by changing the source code, you can submit it as a patch to the moderators controlling the public product. If the moderators like the feature, they will give you a public patch on which you can develop and test your feature. This feature is then tested and voted on by the community of developers also working on the project and if it becomes a popular feature, they add it to the compiled public version of the file available for download. This body is the only way to successfully prevent the entry of malicious content into source code and the removal or unnecessary alteration of features critical to software operation. (Gallivan, 2001) With open source projects continually growing in size and globalizing, they have become increasingly difficult to manage. In accordance to Brooks Law on software development, the more people you add to a project, the more its complexity increases make it increasingly essential for communication between developers and information management. In order to establish this rapport, there have been systems set into use, like Drupal, for Open Source Content

Management, that many developers use that allow collaboration through forums, chats, wikis, and mailing lists. Linux Applied As previously mentioned, there are 220 different Linux operating systems derived from a common Linux kernel source. The purpose of this kernel is to run applications, manage hardware, and provide system security. Linux is the largest open source project in existence today along with being one of the first open source projects shortly following the GNU operating system. An update is released every 2 to 3 months and it has a community of over 2,700 developers, with the figure exponentially increasing since 2005. 15% of the code for Linux however is written by 10 individual hobbyists who are dedicated to the subsistence of Linux in the long term. (Edwards, 2010) The original creator Linus Torvalds, occasionally monitors changes to the original code but no longer develops the kernel himself, as he started the project only as a hobbyist. He instead assigned a group of moderators and expert programmers to implement changes into older versions of Linux and maintain certain portions of the kernel. (Raymond, 1999) To submit kernel changes, you must have 4 to 5 people test your alterations and must release test versions to the public to discover any flaws in your development. It also has to be styled similarly to Linux as is already in existence. When youve worked out any unforeseeable issues exposed by utilization of users, you then have to release a new clean version and wait for feedback and approval. Even with intellectual property in the common, as with Linux, there are systems of governances in play preventing transgressions on the commons with malicious knowledge. (Wheeler, 2003) Piracy and Open Source Technology: Piracy and the Economic Impact of OSS As mentioned previously, open source is able to be kept common because of restrictions by the Open Source Initiative GPLs that have strict qualifications that keep the code from becoming a property of private appropriation. Almost 55% of open source projects use these licenses in some form. Its major points are that you are only allowed to modify or redistribute software if you agree with the license, it must include attribution citing author names and date of changes, you can sell it for a fee but the source code must be included in the distribution and if terms are violated, it could revolve in revocation of the licenses. (Lerner, 2005) The General Public License brings up interesting questions about the rights to intellectual property in the realm of the open source commons. According to Lockes theories, he proposes that man, by being master of himself, and proprietor of his own person, and the actions or labor of it, had still in himself the great foundation of property; and that which made up the great part of what he applied to the support or comfort of his being, when invention and arts had improved the conveniences of life, was perfectly his own, and did not belong in common to others. According to Locke, any property that man appropriates from the common is that which he is entitled to because his labor has increased the value of it, and if things required general consensus on removal from the commons man would starve as he can only benefit by making use of his faculties. As long as he doesnt infringe on the rights of other people to subsistence he is causing no harm.

Open source is contradictory of Lockes theory as man is not entitled to claim as private property his own intellectual ideas as long as they were inspired or supported by an open source form of intellectual property. Even if inspired or derived from an open source of technology, he now has to return his additional labor to society because it is by law inseparable from the open source license. The only benefit he can gain is immediate personal benefit from use as opposed to benefit for subsistence. This brings up the question of the just compensation for the programmers involved in open source development if the commons are encumbered but were living in a society where reliance on the technological commons does not necessarily provide sustenance. (Gruber, McGowan, Stephens, 2007) This is an extremely important consideration to make, if we also consider Marxs theory on objectification. Although the concepts of alienation and estrangement may not apply fully here as most people who participate in open source as hobbyists so they partake in performing labor out of enjoyment and he has the option to own or distribute the product of his labor as he will not gain economic benefit from it since it can be freely copied and reproduced. Source code may not be limited but the human capital of the person producing the source code is. Therefore we have to take into consideration the time investment placed into developing a product because it is an objectification of the person into an object. In a capitalist society outside of the open source community, their subsistence is reliant upon commodity wages created by prices placed on the value of objects related to their labor as related by Polanyi. This is a major concern in OSS development and has been addressed in one of two ways; one as an illegal solution to the problem of compensation or cost reduction and the second as a creative way to profit off the downfalls of open source. A big problem incurred with countries that have relied on open source software for technological innovation is that they often do not have laws again the piracy of software. An example of such a country facing these problems rampantly is India. (Noronha, 1999) One side of the debate contends that open source software promotes a culture of piracy, by removing the rights that users have to their development work that is combined with open source code. This has promoted piracy through some individuals combining proprietary code with open source code and trying to distribute it as proprietary software under the auspice that it is new code. This has been a solution for some looking to gain value for their work. (Perens & Shiels, 2008) A more recent infamous example of open source code piracy is the use of DataTables developed by SpryMedia by the Obamacare site healthcare.gov with the removal of an attribution reference. This may have been more for the reason of cost reduction. (Neal, 2013) The second attempt to remedy the problem of compensation for developers has been through the sale of proprietary add-ons, training and support for software, and acquiring corporate funding for need centered software development. 75% of the code comprising Linux comes from paid software developers employed by competing software companies. (Sharma, 2009) A consideration we have to make of open source software in this capacity is whether or not it should be allowed to be released as proprietary property if it is just a product derived from the commons of knowledge? If we are objectifying ourselves through labor in the development of software are we not entitled to recompense and monopoly of our own independent property even with external inspiration?

The Growth of Open Source Technologies

The charts on the left represent the market share in 2008 of the dominating Windows proprietary software versus Open Source softwares and the charts on the right are a comparative for 2010. (Netmarketshare.com home page) In the last few years, open source software has seen a significant growth in market share especially in the area of Web Browsers. The charts above evidence the growth of in market share of Mac-OS-X and Linux which are both Unix based operating systems. Windows has decreased in market share by 3% and although Linux is still a rather insignificant slice of the market, it experience an 18% increase in market share. (Henderson, 2009) Since its release in 2004, Mozilla has seen exponential gains in market share on a yearly basis. Following its release in 2008, Google Chrome also experienced the same exponential increase now rivaling Firefox at 15.44% market share for Chrome in 2013 versus an 18.28% market share for Firefox in 2013. Firefox although identified as a browser with significant security vulnerabilities is able to maintain success through collaboration with its communitys quick response to fixing bugs. (Evers, 2006) Apache, an open source web server platform, is one of the most widely used open source software products. It is not an end user product many may have heard of but it is the platform on which more than 2/3 of the internet is hosted and/or built. (Hann, Robets, and Slaughter, 2006) For all these technologies however, proprietary software is still dominating in the market and so many may not have heard of many open source products. A big impediment to the growth in use of open source software is that developers of operating systems like Microsoft often have

contracts with manufacturers allowing them to bundle their products with products such as computers. Many casual users just remain with default packages and so companies like Microsoft still dominate market share. Open source software is also not generally advertised which is also a large general challenge in it increasing market share. (Ghemawat, 2006) Open Source vs. Proprietary Software: Pros and Cons of Keeping it as Common Property In the treatment of intellectual property, Hardt takes a utilitarian approach on the rights to intellectual property. He says that although intellectual property can be privatized and controlled, its hard to police ownership because its so easily shared or reproduced. He stresses that in order to fully maximize the productivity of ideas; they should be shared and kept in common because sharing them does not reduce the utility to its formulator. So working off those ideas of the benefits of collaborative productivity of the commons I will discuss the benefits of open source derived from its release in the commons. Four primary areas in which we see gains and risks are through security, community development, fragmentation, and competition. Within security the perceived benefits of software in common is that since there is more people looking at the code, its easier to find security flaws and fix them. It is also argued that the ease of finding security flaws also allows for them to be more easily exploited. (Whitlock, 2001)The difference with proprietary code in this area is that there is fewer people reviewing the code for flaws and they have the perceived benefit of security through the obscurity by not having to supply the source code. Without flaws to the code visually exposed, the only likelihood of finding them is through trial and error. However, the fact that proprietary software still has the largest market share makes it a more likely target for malicious attacks. (Payne, 2002) Another perceived benefit of open source software is that there are constantly large numbers of developers improving the code. This is beneficial because with increasing numbers testing and fixing bugs, the software is more reliable and likely to have consistently strong performance potential as opposed to proprietary software with obscured flaws which may become a problem at any use. The size of the community insures a wide range of creative and new perspectives to contribute to the innovation of the software as well. Open source software is encouraging innovation by providing free software as an alternative to proprietary software. This encourages the companies behind proprietary software to continually improve their product to stay competitive with open source. Proponents of proprietary software argue against it for the economic impacts it has because it competes unfairly with open source software by offering itself for free. This could potentially result in the loss of jobs because of the decreasing market share of proprietary companies. This is currently seen and unlikely in the near future however given the slow gains in market share for OSS. (Johnson, 2010) A big problem with OSS however, is fragmentation. Given anyones right to create fork variations of original source codes and create add-ons it creates issues in compatibility where there may be a lack of compatibility in Linux drivers across more well-known variations of Linux such as Ubuntu and lesser known ones such as Debian. (Henderson, 2009) Another probably is that with constant updates in the form of new version releases like for Android, theres no automatic upgrade for older devices and is dependent on the user. This makes it more difficult for developers to write apps compatible on all versions in use. (Moody, 2009) Conclusion

I think as per what Hardt says, the entitlement of knowledge is constantly seeking escape the confines of private property. This can be seen by the reversion of the open source community to what Polyani defines as the controls of a pre-market/capitalist society and the increasing market share of open source technology. (May, 2008) Individuals no longer are able to be satisfied with the monopoly of knowledge in proprietary software but rather seek to take back their power of choice. In this desire, people are able to self-regulate under limited governance by convention and desire to benefit from the common good. In order to escape the confines of the private property, people have combined their efforts to address the inconveniences of individual as described by Hume to put together great collaborative ideas to make rapid technological innovations that in some cases have dominated the market almost immediately, like the continual gains made by Android in the newly ventured smartphone industry and in the development of culturally iconic open source sites with crowd sourced knowledge like Wikipedia and Reddit. (Nielsen, 2013 & Moody, 2009) Open source is built on open source and therefore things like Apache have allowed us to have the internet and things like Linux has allowed us to have hand held knowledge by creating device development interfaces based on collective knowledge that may not have been produced otherwise. By leaving open source in common however, we do face ethical considerations of the compensation of people participating in a communal pool where the rest of society operates on capitalism and commodity. (Gruber, McGowan, and Stephens 2007) We have to consider the rights of appropriation and whether individual knowledge can be marketed as common property since it can also be objectified for the purpose of sustenance and the value we can afford it as a society. This consideration may give legitimacy to the piracy of open source knowledge. Inevitably, we still have to recall that for people whose livelihoods depend on proprietary knowledge, we are devaluing the product of their labor by providing an excess of supply to the market. We also have to recall that although the knowledge of the commons isnt scare, human capital is. Overall, leaving technology in the commons has given rise to amazing technological innovations and has worked to reverse the commodification of the social good of knowledge. (May, 2008) Collective knowledge has proved more beneficial than the proprietary knowledge of the few in a number of ways.

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