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The institutions of open source software: Examining the Debian community

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  • Mateos-Garcia, Juan
  • Steinmueller, W. Edward

Abstract

Free and open source software activities involve and, perhaps, evolve institutions (rules, norms and standards) that influence the formation, growth, and demise of communities. Community institutions are attractors for some individuals while discouraging other individuals from entering or continuing to participate. Their suitability may change as a community grows. This paper examines the institutions of the Debian community where issues of community identity, distribution of authority, and decentralisation have facilitated growth and development. These same institutions have also resulted in conflicts regarding community purposes and the quality and delivery of the community's output. We examine the institutional redesign undertaken to address these problems and derive implications for F/LOS communities and companies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 20 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 333-344

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:20:y:2008:i:4:p:333-344

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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Keywords: Open source software Debian Institutions;

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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Rullani & Lorenzo Zirulia, 2011. "A Supply Side Story for a Threshold Model: Endogenous Growth of the Free and Open Source Community," DRUID Working Papers 11-06, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  2. Rullani, Francesco & Haefliger, Stefan, 2013. "The periphery on stage: The intra-organizational dynamics in online communities of creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 941-953.
  3. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
  4. Michiel Bijlsma & Paul de Bijl & Viktoria Kocsis, 2009. "Concurrentie, innovatie en intellectuele eigendomsrechten in software markten," CPB Document 181, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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