[TOS] Open/Collaborative development as a focus for the textbook? (Re: First draft of textbook: introductory chapter (foreword?))

Greg DeKoenigsberg 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).
> +1

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 
first place.

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 
this thread.

Thanks for everyone's insights.  Let's write that book.


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