Working in Public

The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software

Nadia Eghbal

Book Synopsis

"Working in Public" by Nadia Eghbal provides an insightful examination of the world of open-source software and online communities. Eghbal delves into the challenges and dynamics that shape this decentralized mode of collaboration, exploring the motivations, ideologies, and economic complexities that drive individuals to contribute their time and expertise for free.

Through in-depth case studies and interviews, the book offers a comprehensive exploration of how open-source projects are sustained and governed, highlighting the tensions between corporate interests, community values, and the pressures of maintaining public goods. Eghbal also delves into the obstacles faced by online communities, such as burnout, funding limitations, and the impact of social norms on collaboration.

In addition to analyzing the mechanics of open-source software development, Eghbal raises thought-provoking questions about the broader implications of working in public. She challenges the prevailing notions of labor, creativity, and ownership in the digital age, ultimately making a compelling case for the recognition and support of open-source contributors.

"Working in Public" is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the intricacies of open-source collaboration, the evolving nature of work in the digital sphere, and the potential of building sustainable communities around shared resources. Eghbal's astute observations and insights serve as a valuable guide for navigating the complexities of both online and offline public work.

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