Convivial software: An end-user perspective on free and open source software [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 11 (4):299-310 (2009)
The free and open source software (Foss) movement deserves to be placed in an historico-ethical perspective that emphasizes the end user. Such an emphasis is able to enhance and support the Foss movement by arguing the ways it is heir to a tradition of professional ethical idealism and potentially related to important issues in the history of science, technology, and society relations. The focus on software from an end-user’s perspective also leads to the concept of program conviviality. From a non-technical perspective, however, software is simply a new example of technology, and the effort to assure that technology is developed in a socially responsible manner has a significant history. The argument thus begins with observations about the history of technology. This leads to critical reflections on the development of professional engineering ethics, and to a discussion of the alternative technology movement. Finally, it concludes by indicating some criteria to consider when imagining the design of convivial software.
Keywords Alternative technology  Convivial software  End user  Engineering ethics  Free software  Open source  Technology transfer
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    Eric Raymond (1999). The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Knowledge, Technology and Policy 12 (3):23-49.

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