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Community-based production of open-source software: What do we know about the developers who participate?

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  • David, Paul A.
  • Shapiro, Joseph S.

Abstract

This paper seeks to close an empirical gap regarding the motivations, personal attributes and behavioral patterns among free/libre and open-source (FLOSS) developers, especially those involved in community-based production, and considers the bearing of its findings on the existing literature and the future directions for research. Respondents to an extensive web-survey's (FLOSS-US 2003) questions about their reasons for beginning to work FLOSS are classified according to their distinct "motivational profiles" by hierarchical cluster analysis. Over half of them also are matched to projects of known membership sizes, revealing that although some members from each of the clusters are present in the small, medium and large ranges of the distribution of project sizes, the mixing fractions for the large and the very small project ranges are statistically different. Among developers who changed projects, there is a discernable flow from the bottom toward the very small towards to large projects, some of which is motivated by individuals seeking to improve their programming skills. It is found that the profile of early motivation, along with other individual attributes, significantly affects individual developers' selections of projects from different regions of the size range.

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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: 364-398

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:20:y:2008:i:4:p:364-398

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

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Keywords: Open-source software FLOSS projects Community-based peer production Population heterogeneity Micro-motives Motivational profiles Web-cast surveys Hierarchical cluster analysis;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. F. Rullani & L. Zirulia, 2011. "A supply side story for a threshold model: Endogenous growth of the free and open source community," Working Papers wp781, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. Tom DEDEURWAERDERE & Paolo MELINDI GHIDI, 2013. "Voluntary Pooled Public Knowledge Goods and Coalition Formation," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Mollick, Ethan, 2014. "The dynamics of crowdfunding: An exploratory study," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16.
  4. Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Quality Competition or Quality Cooperation? License-Type and the Strategic Nature of Open Source vs. Closed Source Business Models," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  5. Landini, Fabio, 2012. "Technology, property rights and organizational diversity in the software industry," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 137-150.

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