Capability Coordination in Modular Organization: Voluntary FS/OSS Production and the Case of Debian GNU/Linux
The paper analyzes voluntary Free Software/Open Source Software (FS/OSS) organization of work. The empirical setting considered is the Debian GNU/Linux operating system. The paper finds that the production process is hierarchical notwithstanding the modular (nearly decomposable) architecture of software and of voluntary FS/OSS organization. But voluntary FS/OSS project organization is not hierarchical for the same reasons suggested by the most familiar theories of economic organization: hierarchy is justified for coordination of continuous change, rather than for the direction of static production. Hierarchy is ultimately the overhead attached to the benefits engendered by modular organization.