From Coding to Community: Iteration, Abstraction & Open Source Software Development is a self-published book by Brad Weikel, adapted from his Masters thesis of the same name.
Description: Studies of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) have generally focused on the programmers who write the code, the economic consequences of giving away code, and the legal and moral basis for FOSS licenses, in relation to copyright. However, the act of building FOSS applications, or, rather, the very act of programming, is fundamentally mediated by computer interfaces, including programming languages. In the pursuit of an understanding of FOSS development, these interfaces – and the material practices which they both derive and are derived from – cannot be ignored. This book is an exploration of iteration and abstraction in the practices of programming, as these concepts relate to the politics and production of FOSS projects. Iteration, in this context, refers to the writing of software through incremental changes, leaving it ever subject to further modifications. Abstraction, on the other hand, refers to the use of interfaces to hide complexity, thereby enabling new relations between code and people.
Getting a Copy...
I will at some point make a Creative Commons licensed version available for free download on this page. In the meantime, the version I submitted as my MA thesis is available for download from Georgetown University.