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Title The coproduction of open source software by volunteers and big tech firms

Authors O’Neil, Cai, Muselli, Pailler, Zacchiroli

Released 9 JUN. 2021

This report maps how firms are collaborating with communities of unpaid volunteers to produce open source code, used in the ‘digital infrastructure’ which powers the contemporary networked economy. The IT news media, big tech firms and commercial foundations define firms and projects as a unified ‘community.’ Yet big tech firms such as Amazon are using cloud computing and Software as a Service to transform open source software, which is intended to be shared and modified, into closed assets. The report outlines strategic responses to big tech appropriation and reviews current debates about the recognition of volunteer work, money in FOSS, software licenses and universal basic incomes. The report also features invited comments exploring alternative perspectives by French open source specialists from the fields of academia, industry and activism.