Socialization in Open Source Development: A Case Study


In this animated film, designer Henrietta Ross worked with researcher Wifak Houij Gueddana, Information Systems and Innovation Group to capture the idea, methodology and key findings behind the MIFOS project, which looks at the different social interactions that underpin the process of developing and sharing open code.


The Research

Wifak says ‘My research asks how can we build sustainable software that has a capacity to endure and improve users’ capabilities? It explores how cross-disciplinary communities including NGOs and social businesses in particular interact and co-produce open code. It tries to understand and identify the mechanisms of knowledge sharing/building that are necessary to sustain open code continuous redesign over time.

What I have found so far  is that Open source long-term development is a process of open code production that is fully embedded in online information platforms, including interconnected data repositories, wikis, production sites and communication tools. These online tools and websites are essential to sustain the interaction of open source community members. Gradually, open source community members use the resources of the open source information platform, interact and build collective and local knowledge. This is the basis of how code starts to change, and is reused and continuously designed. Through interactions, open source community members gradually acquire knowledge, develop skills and appropriate the open code. They also create new social and economic opportunities that foster open code chances to have a future and be part of a new cycle of technical and social innovations’.


The Design

Henrietta RossMA Contemporary Typographic Media

Henrietta in this article describes her next steps to improve the design outcome.