Changing Designer-Function in Open Source

Gagan Deep Kaur


Purpose: Open source, since its arrival in 1990’s has been instrumental in challenging the copyright owned by traditional texts and narratives. Dissolving of author-function heralded by post-modern philosophers like Roland Barthes has been materialized by open source technology completely. However, along with textual narratives, similar dissolution can be seen for pictorial representations as well like the designing of a web-site for instance. Open source makes available technologies which along with, the content, the presentation, for instance, of the website in equal dissolution stage. This paper seeks to explore this trend for presentation part and argues how, like author-function, designer-function, is in jeopardy

Design/Methodology/Approach: For this purpose, the two open-source tools AddArt and ShiftSpace, the Mozilla Firefox extensions have been used to bring home the impact of these in terms of altering the presentation of various websites.

Findings: The tools have been found to be significantly impressive in modifying the way the content is presented on the website without the owner’s permission. The modifications effected by these tools are presented at the end of the paper in the form of various snap-shots.

Research Implications: The implications of these tools can range from purely web-ethical to political. The tools are not only found to raise ethical concerns of privacy and ownership of the way information is to be presented by the owners, but politically also present a trespassing avenue through which capitalist ideas of ownership of information through copyright can be effected.

Originality/Value: The paper has attempted to bring to the forefront the ethico-political concerns associated with naively appearing open-source browser extensions like AddArt and ShiftSpace. The considering of concerns can provide a further criteria for evaluating such extensions apart from purely technical which is a norm at present.

Keywords: Designer-Function, AddArt, ShiftSpace, Web Aesthetics, Open SourcePaper

Type: Research

Full Text: PDF

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