99 – Free and open source software

LibreOffice is an office suite that can be downloaded, used, shared, modified and redistributed freely. It is available for most operating systems, including Mac OS and Windows, and estimated to have 200 million active users worldwide. It is one of the largest and longstanding free and open source software projects.

In his ethnographic study, Reinhard Handler investigates the collaborative practices that forms LibreOffice. With the aim to understand how collaborative practices emerge, are negotiated and ordered in the context of free and open source software, he has followed collaborators at conferences, interviewed them, and participated in their discussions. In our conversation, Reinhard describes and explains the interplay of ethical ideas, technical skills, and governance mechanisms that together form LibreOffice as a software project.

Reinhard Handler’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA: Colliberate : The practices of free and open source software

79 – The Public Interest in the Data Society

The public interest, in its ideal form, offers the possibility for all to exercise individual rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or the right to personal data protection. However, in practice the definition of public interest can vary depending on the context.

In Maud Bernisson’s doctoral thesis in Media and Communication Studies, she investigates how the notion of public interest was constructed in relation to digital media during the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) policymaking process. By interviewing key actors of the process, along with extensive in-depth document analyses, Maud’s research shows that the GDPR redefines the public interest in a way which diverges from its ideal form. In our conversation, Maud explains the reasons for this divergence and how it has affected how the GDPR works for EU citizens.     

Maud Bernisson’s doctoral thesis can be downloaded from DiVA: The Public Interest in the Data Society: Deconstructing the Policy Network Imaginary of the GDPR