Free and open source software (FOSS) is considered by many, along with Wikipedia, the proof of an ongoing paradigm shift from hierarchically-managed and market-driven production of knowledge to heterarchical, collaborative and commons-based production styles. In such perspective, it has become common place to refer to FOSS as a manifestation of collective intelligence where deliverables and artefacts emerge by virtue of mere cooperation, with no need for supervising leadership.by Paolo Magrassi: Free and Open-Source Software is not an Emerging Property but Rather the Result of Studied Design.
What is Free and Open-Source Software? What is it not? Anyone interested in this phenomenon should read this paper as it gives some insights on some pitfalls of the more romanticized view of the bottom-up approach of open-source emergence. As any complexity scientist will tell you, bottom-up alone usually doesn’t lead to interesting things, you need the top-down approach also, but not too much. You need feedback loops (positive and negative) going from local to global and vice-versa and you need iteration. You need entanglement of all these and then you need to let your system run for long time before you can conclude anything definite about it. This paper seems a bit like a conclusion of this process in the FOSS world.