Reflection: EthicalCS, Open Source as structure


extra reads:

There is no doubt that bringing an education of ethics to computer science education is important to what the future of technology and the future of society will look like. What might be more imperative is structural reform of the technological institutions that are currently in place. The creator<—>consumer relationship is so far from where it needs to be in order to support an environment in which open source is actually open source.

What I mean by this is that while many tech companies and organizations claim open source as part of their ethos they continue to maintain financial independence and therefore power over their contributors and in the end their consumers. Why is this a problem? These said companies get brownie points for sponsoring open source intiatives and accepting contributions from free agent developers but the more people that go to these events and make these contributions the larger the machine of that company gets and the smaller the “user” gets.

After these readings I am mostly wondering…what does it look like for an open source technology to be seen as a model for making or coming together rather than as an after thought to a business plan or social network app or javascript library? If an open source technology is a model how can it sustain itself and the people that are working on it without straying from its fundamental values?