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An anthropologist's view of an open source community

Feb 02, 2011, 19:04 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ruth Suehle)

"In the first session of FUDCon talks this past weekend, Diana Harrelson reported on her anthropological study of the Fedora community, which she used to find ways to sustain and grow an open source development community. She studied the group from the Fedora 12 launch through the Fedora 13 development cycle while she was a master's candidate at the University of North Texas. (She now has that degree and is working towards a PhD in human computer interaction.) Here's are a few of her findings, much of which certainly apply across open source communities, not just to Fedora.

"What's a community?

"Diana noted that while 75% of the survey respondents in the study agreed that the contributors make up a community, she was more curious what the other 25% thought. Mairin Duffy, a member of the audience, suggested it might be that some think of Fedora "as more of a distro than as a community first." Someone else in the audience asked Diana if she defined community for these questions. She answered that the definition was up to the individual respondent, and that she had also asked them each what their definitions were. She also had some answers from that other 25%:"

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