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Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good

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  • Justin Pappas Johnson
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    Abstract

    A simple model of open source software (as typified by the GNU-Linux operating system) is presented. Individual user-programmers decide whether to invest their own effort to develop a software enhancement that will become a public good if so developed. The effect of changing the population size of user-programmers is considered; finite and asymptotic results are given. Welfare results are presented. It is shown that whether development will increase when applications have a modular structure depends on whether the developer base exceeds a critical size. Potential explanations of several stylized facts are given, including why certain useful programs don't get written. Copyright (c) 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 637-662

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:11:y:2002:i:4:p:637-662

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