[TOS] Open/Collaborative development as a focus for the textbook? (Re: First draft of textbook: introductory chapter (foreword?))
gdk at redhat.com
Thu Sep 10 21:35:22 UTC 2009
On Thu, 10 Sep 2009, Ross Gardler wrote:
> However, there is no formal definition of what open development is. It
> is not described by either the four freedoms or the open definition.
> We've been working with some people to define an "open and agile
> development methodology". See draft 2 at
> http://wiki.oss-watch.ac.uk/OpenAndAgileDevelopment - input is most
> welcome. This will, over time, come with a range of supporting
> documents (actually there are already many on our site).
>> I guess it appeals because 1. the book has a practical feel (mostly
>> about behavior), and 2. the notion of collaborative software
>> development applies equally well to all software projects, not just
>> open vs. free vs. closed. From the professor's perspective, it helps
>> make it clear that the book is about supporting the teaching of
>> collaborative software development practices (in the context of *OSS
>> tools and projects).
I suppose we could come up with yet another term that attempts to describe
the methodology while leaving out the philosophy -- but that was, iirc,
the primary motive behind the creation of the term "open source" in the
We could opt for the term "collaborative development", and then acronymize
that term as well when "collaborative development" starts to sound too
cumbersome -- but that seems to be compounding the problem even more, and
introducing a term without any currency at all, without a clear enough
This book is, in large part, about the *mechanics* of source code. The
mechanics of building it, using it, modifying it, sharing it, and
improving it -- all while leveraging the inherent advantages of the open
model. Thus, open source.
To wrap this thread up:
1. I'm the editor, so it is my job to make decisions like this. Doesn't
mean I'm right, but it does mean that I'm "the decider".
2. My decision, for now, is to prefer the term "open source" because it
is, in my opinion, the simplest term for *this particular purpose*.
3. If authors step forward and say "I would like to favor the terms
FOSS/FLOSS/whatever in my chapters," I will reconsider.
4. MJ, if you want to write a chapter on the importance of terminology and
ideology in the world of FLOSS, I will certainly consider it for
5. Because this book will be CC-BY-SA, anyone will be free to fork it and
do whatever they like with it. But until the book actually *exists*, this
right is a theoretical right. If we want to have this discussion again,
let's have it at the end, when we've actually got a book. It's a
search-and-replace operation, isn't it?
6. For now, I consider this matter closed. Doesn't mean the discussion
can't carry on, only that I will not be reading or commenting further on
Thanks for everyone's insights. Let's write that book.
Computer Science professors should be teaching open source.
Help make it happen. Visit http://teachingopensource.org.
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