Communities and Bazaar: the Open Model from Linux to Wikipedia
The "closed vs open" dualism is an integral part of the Internet, which is born and grown up as a collective open project based on a network architecture and planned to contain every kind of information and subject. Communities are an essential aspect of the Internet and can be defined as structured aggregation systems sharing common interests and objectives. One of the main contemporary community is the one of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, which collects knowledge and information in order to spread them around the world and potentially reach everyone on the planet. The way Wikipedia works is very similar to the bazaar model typical of free and open source projects, like GNU Linux and Mozilla, and defined by Eric Raymond in his essay “The cathedral and bazaar”. Some of the features which constitutes this model are collaboration, transparency, a global involvement in terms of number of people in action and geographical areas implicated and an active culture of participation which enables community users to influence decisions and tendencies of the project. The bazaar model demonstrated its effectiveness in several ways, first of all in the rise of Linux and of the FLOSS systems, then in the transition process from Nupedia (the first encyclopedia founded by Jim Wales) to Wikipedia. In both cases the success of a modus operandi has not been dictated only by ethical ideals, but also by functional and structural reasons which authors will analyze in the progress of this paper and which will state the favorable connection between the sharing of knowledge and the model adopted to share it.