Article: Powers and repositories

Matthew East mdke at
Tue Jan 30 08:32:53 GMT 2007

Hi Christian,

On Tue, 2007-01-30 at 09:18 +0100, Christian Jensen wrote:
> I guess this is more or less ready for The Fridge:

Although most fridge editors follow sounder, it's better to send your
fridge submissions to fridge-devel at (cc:ed).

I'm leaving the rest of your email copied below for that purpose.

> "This paper deals with the authority and power of software repositories, 
> especially Launchpad and Rosetta, the repositories that contains the 
> source code and translations of Ubuntu. It does this by extending some 
> of sociologist Max Weber's notions of authority. Weber's idea of 
> “charismatic authority” is well known to many free software developers, 
> and to those who comment upon and study this phenomenon. The informal, 
> personally achieved authority of the charismatic leader, like that of 
> Linus Torvalds, has been well known since Eric Raymond wrote his papers 
> The Cathedral and the Bazaar 
> <> *^1 
> <#sdfootnote1sym>* and Homesteading the Noosphere 
> <>.*^2 
> <#sdfootnote2sym>* Eric Raymond's message is substantiated by a detailed 
> empirical account and states that Free software projects stick together, 
> rather than to fork, pretty much because this authority is respected. 
> Raymond has made some very fine observations.*^3 <#sdfootnote3sym>* But 
> they are not enough. In the project that this paper is part of, the 
> focus is on the two other, well known authorities of Weber, the 
> /traditional/ and the /bureaucratic-rational /one.
> The basic idea of this paper-to-be is that repositories are traditional 
> and bureaucratic-rational authorities, and that they do important 
> coordination and integration work in free software-projects. As long, 
> that is, as they are respected by their users."

gnupg pub 1024D/0E6B06FF

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