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Modularity in Action: GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source Software Development Model Unleashed


  • Alessandro Narduzzo
  • Alessandro Rossi


Organizational and managerial theories of modularity applied to the design and production of complex artifacts are used to interpret the rise and success of Free/Open Source Software methodologies and practices in software engineering. Strengths and risks of the adoption of a modular approach in software project management are introduced and are related to the achievements of the GNU/Linux project as a whole, as well as to the outcomes of some of its sub--projects. It is suggested that mindful implementation of the principles of modularity may improve the rate of success of many Free/Open Source software projects. Specific case studies here depicted, as well as indirect observation of common programming practices employed by Free/Open Source developers and users, suggest a possible revision towards an improved theory of modularity that may be extended also to settings different from software production.

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  • Alessandro Narduzzo & Alessandro Rossi, 2003. "Modularity in Action: GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source Software Development Model Unleashed," ROCK Working Papers 020, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 13 Jun 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:trt:rockwp:020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard N. Langlois, 2002. "Modularity in Technology and Organization," Chapters,in: Entrepreneurship and the Firm, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Brusoni, Stefano & Prencipe, Andrea, 2001. "Unpacking the Black Box of Modularity: Technologies, Products and Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 179-205, March.
    3. Marengo, Luigi, et al, 2000. "The Structure of Problem-Solving Knowledge and the Structure of Organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 757-788, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marie Coris & Yannick Lung, 2005. "Les communautés virtuelles : la coordination sans proximité ? Les fondements de la coopération au sein des communautés du logiciel libre," Revue d'économie régionale et urbaine, Armand Colin, vol. 0(3), pages 397-420.
    2. Sadowski, Bert M. & Sadowski-Rasters, Gaby & Duysters, Geert, 2008. "Transition of governance in a mature open software source community: Evidence from the Debian case," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 323-332, December.
    3. Ghafele, Roya & Gibert, Benjamin, 2012. "Efficiency through openness: the economic value proposition of open source software," MPRA Paper 38088, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Holck, Jesper & Larsen, Michael Holm & Pedersen, Mogens Kühn, 2004. "Identifying Business Barriers and Enablers for the Adoption of Open Source Software," Working Papers 2004-10, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Informatics.
    5. Margit Osterloh & Sandra Rota, 2005. "Open Source software development ? just another case of collective invention?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    6. Mangolte, Pierre-André, 2013. "Une innovation institutionnelle, la constitution des communs du logiciel libre," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 14.

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