Open Source Possibilities

Steven Weber is a professor of political science at the University of California – Berkley.

He is doing some interesting research on the implications of Open Source philosophies. I found a short note he wrote on the subject. It deals with the effects Open Source could have on business decisions. You can downloaded it in its entirety from here. This is his opening paragraph:

Open source is a production process, a way of making things. It is a production process built around an unconventional understanding of property rights. It is also a production process that taps into a broad range of human motivations and emotions, beyond the straightforward calculations of salary for labor. And it is a production process that relies on a different set of organizational structures to coordinate behavior than did the last stage of the industrial economy. None of these characteristics is entirely new, unique to the open source movement, or confined to the Internet. But together they are generic ingredients of a way of making things that has potentially broad consequences for ecomonics and politics.

Later in the piece, Weber discusses Open Source as a viable business alternative for the creation of knowledge.

Weber is releasing a book called “The Success of Open Source” in May 2004. You can download the first chapter from the Berkley BRIE site.

Brad DeLong got an early copy of the book and had these comments back in February.

I think these concepts are huge. It changes the rules of engagement for business. Not everything is going to become Open Source, but possibilities are very interesting.