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Analyzing the Production of the Law of Cyberspace
Unformatted Document Text:  22 developers is focused on developing what is interesting to them. This results in the development of code with features that contain little political or economic value. For example, Mozilla, an open source browser based on Netscape’s web browser, contains features such as cookie management, and the ability to block images from third party web sites as well as pop-up advertising windows. 87 Moreover, at times, the open source movement can be defiant to conventional economic and political influences. For example, consider the refinement of the Gnutella file-sharing program by the open source movement. 88 The open source movement improved Gnutella, largely because its decentralized design was intended to prevent users from being blocked accessed to the file-sharing network. In contrast, Napster could be shut down because it was based on a centralized server. The speed of an open source project can vary tremendously largely because of the difficulty of managing a project dependent upon volunteers. 89 The volunteers contribute at their own pace. Managing these volunteers is akin to herding cats according to one open source developer. Consequently, this can lead to “vaporware,” which are open source projects that are never started. Or after some initial work, the lack of support can leave a product in beta form, Motivates Free Software Developers?, F IRST M ONDAY , Dec. 17, 1999, available at http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue3_3/torvalds/. 87 See Sneak Peak: Netscape 6 Preview Release 1, CNET N EWS . COM , available at http://www.cnet.com/internet/0- 3779-7-1581725.html (last visited Jan 27, 2002) (noting improved cookie management features in the latest version of Netscape’s open source browser); Banners, be gone!, M OZILLA W EEK , at http://www.netartmagazine.com/mozweek/archives/00000026.html (Mar. 9, 2001) (describing how to block images from third parties with Mozilla); Stefanie Olsen, Dodging Pop-Ups With Mozilla, CNET N EWS . COM , Aug. 14, 2002, available at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-949572.html (discussing Mozilla’s ability to block pop-up advertising). 88 Wylie Wong, AOL’s Nullsoft Creates Software for Swapping MP3s, CN ET N EWS . COM , Mar. 14, 2000, available at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-237974.html. 89 See Bezroukov, supra note 84; Charles Connell, Open Source Projects Manage Themselves? Dream On, available at http://www.lotus.com/developers/devbase.nsf/articles/doc2000091200 (last visited Feb. 19, 2002) (arguing the open source projects need good managers).

Authors: Shah, Rajiv. and Kesan, Jay.
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developers is focused on developing what is interesting to them. This results in the development
of code with features that contain little political or economic value. For example, Mozilla, an
open source browser based on Netscape’s web browser, contains features such as cookie
management, and the ability to block images from third party web sites as well as pop-up
advertising windows.
87
Moreover, at times, the open source movement can be defiant to
conventional economic and political influences. For example, consider the refinement of the
Gnutella file-sharing program by the open source movement.
88
The open source movement
improved Gnutella, largely because its decentralized design was intended to prevent users from
being blocked accessed to the file-sharing network. In contrast, Napster could be shut down
because it was based on a centralized server.
The speed of an open source project can vary tremendously largely because of the
difficulty of managing a project dependent upon volunteers.
89
The volunteers contribute at their
own pace. Managing these volunteers is akin to herding cats according to one open source
developer. Consequently, this can lead to “vaporware,” which are open source projects that are
never started. Or after some initial work, the lack of support can leave a product in beta form,
Motivates Free Software Developers?, F
IRST
M
ONDAY
, Dec. 17, 1999, available at
http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue3_3/torvalds/.
87
See Sneak Peak: Netscape 6 Preview Release 1, CNET N
EWS
.
COM
, available at http://www.cnet.com/internet/0-
3779-7-1581725.html (last visited Jan 27, 2002) (noting improved cookie management features in the latest version
of Netscape’s open source browser); Banners, be gone!, M
OZILLA
W
EEK
, at
http://www.netartmagazine.com/mozweek/archives/00000026.html (Mar. 9, 2001) (describing how to block images
from third parties with Mozilla); Stefanie Olsen, Dodging Pop-Ups With Mozilla, CNET N
EWS
.
COM
, Aug. 14, 2002,
available at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-949572.html (discussing Mozilla’s ability to block pop-up
advertising).
88
Wylie Wong, AOL’s Nullsoft Creates Software for Swapping MP3s, CN
ET
N
EWS
.
COM
, Mar. 14, 2000, available
at http://news.com.com/2100-1023-237974.html.
89
See Bezroukov, supra note 84; Charles Connell, Open Source Projects Manage Themselves? Dream On,
available at http://www.lotus.com/developers/devbase.nsf/articles/doc2000091200 (last visited Feb. 19, 2002)
(arguing the open source projects need good managers).


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