University of Toronto, Mississauga, Fall 2010

CCT395: Understanding Open Source Software Production (Special Topics in CCIT)

The course will apply a variety of lenses (economic, political, cultural, technical) to the production of free / open source software — i.e., software that users are allowed to modify and redistribute. In the recent years such software has grown in prominence. Today it includes both popular end-user software such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, as well as back-end software that today dominates in many domains of IT infrastructure (e.g., the Apache web-server and the GNU/Linux operating system). In addition to creating many opportunities (and sometimes challenges) to IT professionals, the success of open source software has presented a number of puzzles for social science researchers. Why do individuals and companies allow their work to be freely shared? What reasons do they have for contributing time and money? How do they coordinate their activities? Can the open source software model be applied to the production of other goods, e.g., can we have “open source textbooks” or “open source pharmaceuticals”? The course will explore those questions, seeking to understand the open source phenomenon itself, but also using it as a testing ground for ideas from several fields of social science, observing the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches and the ways in which they challenge and complement each other.

Course Basics

Time and PlaceWednesday, 9-11 am, in Rm. CC3124
The Instructor Yuri Takhteyev
email: yuri.takhteyev at
office hours: 2-3pm on Wednesdays, CC3018

The Syllabus

The syllabus is here (last updated Nov. 23, 2010).


November 22

The study guide is here.

November 3

Assignment 3 is here.

October 14

Assignment 2 is here.

September 29

Assignment 1 is here.


Week 1: PDF, ODP Week 5 PDF, ODP Week 9 PDF, ODP
Week 2 PDF, ODP Week 6 PDF, ODP Week 10 PDF, ODP
Week 3 PDF, ODP Week 7 PDF, ODP Week 11 PDF, ODP
Week 4 PDF, ODP Week 8 PDF, ODP Week 12 PDF, ODP