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Communications of the ACM


For a More Transparent Governance of Open Source

organizational chart composed of business folders, illustration

Credit: Andrew Krasovitckii

Our modern society runs on software. Most of this software is, or heavily depends on, open source code maintained by a community of often unpaid volunteers. Indeed, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) constitutes the digital infrastructure of our society.3

While this openness is positive, it comes with a price. FOSS, as other types of public goods, suffers from a participation inequality problem: everybody uses FOSS, but few contribute back and hugely critical projects end up being maintained by very few committed individuals.


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