Free and open source software (FOSS) as a model domain for answering big questions about creativity

Mind and Society 12 (1):113-123 (2013)
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In free and open source software , computer code is made freely accessible and can be modified by anyone. It is a creative domain with many unique features; the FOSS mode of creativity has also influenced many aspects of contemporary cultural production. In this article we identify a number of fundamental but unresolved general issues in the study of creativity, then examine the potential for the study of FOSS to inform these topics. Archival studies of the genesis of FOSS projects, coupled with laboratory studies detailing the psychological processes involved in software creation, can provide converging evidence on the nature of creativity in software design. Such a research program has broad implications both for theories of creativity and for real-world innovation in software and other forms of digital cultural production



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