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Supporting the Collaborative Appropriation of an Open Software Ecosystem

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Since the beginning of CSCW there was an intense interest for research on workplace design using tailorable applications and sharing customizations. However, in the meantime the forms of production, distribution, configuration and appropriation of software have changed fundamentally. In order to reflect these developments, we enlarge the topic of discussion beyond customizing single applications, but focusing on how people design their workplaces making use of software ecosystems. We contribute to understand the new phenomenon from within the users’ local context. By empirically studying the Eclipse software ecosystem and its appropriation, we show the improved flexibility users achieve at designing their workplaces. Further the uncovered practices demonstrate, why design strategies like mass-customization are a bad guiding principle as they just focus on the individual user. In contrast we outline an alternative design methodology based on existing CSCW approaches, but also envision where the workplace design in the age of software ecosystems has to go beyond.


Draxler, Sebastian; Stevens, Gunnar (40817): Supporting the Collaborative Appropriation of an Open Software Ecosystem. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 20. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-011-9148-9. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 403-448