Dynamics of innovation in an “open source” collaboration environment: lurking, laboring, and launching FLOSS projects on SourceForge
AbstractA systems analysis perspective is adopted to examine the critical properties of the Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) mode of innovation, as reflected on the SourceForge platform ( SF.net ). This approach re-scales March's ( 1991 ) framework and applies it to characterize the “innovation system” of a “distributed organization” of interacting agents in a virtual collaboration environment, rather than to innovation within a firm. March ( 1991 ) views the process of innovation at the organizational level as the coupling of sub-processes of exploration and exploitation. Correspondingly, the innovation system of the virtual collaboration environment represented by SF.net is an emergent property of two “coupled” processes: one involves the interactions among agents searching the locale for information and knowledge resources to use in designing novel software products (i.e., exploration ), and the other involves the mobilization of individuals’ capabilities for application in the software development projects that become established on the platform (i.e., exploitation ). The micro-dynamics of this system are studied empirically by constructing transition probability matrices representing the movements of 222,835 SF.net users among seven different activity states, which range from “lurking” (not contributing or contributing to projects without becoming a member) to “laboring” (joining one or more projects as members), and to “launching” (founding one or more projects) within each successive 6-month interval. The estimated probabilities are found to form first-order Markov chains describing ergodic processes. This makes it possible the computation of the equilibrium distribution of agents among the states, thereby suppressing transient effects and revealing persisting patterns of project joining and project launching. The latter show the FLOSS innovation process on SF.net to be highly dissipative: a very large proportion of the registered “developers” fail to become even minimally active on the platform. There is nevertheless an active core of mobile project joiners, and a (still smaller) core of project founders who persist in creating new projects. The structure of these groups’ interactions (as displayed within the 3-year period examined) is investigated in detail, and it is shown that it would be sufficient to sustain both the exploration and exploitation phases of the platform's global dynamics. Copyright 2008 , Oxford University Press.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Industrial and Corporate Change.
Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://icc.oupjournals.org/
Other versions of this item:
- Paul David & Francesco Rullani, 2007. "Dynamics of Innovation in an “Open Source” Collaboration Environment: Lurking, Laboring and Launching FLOSS Projects on SourceForge," Discussion Papers 07-022, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education and Research Institutions
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Juan Mateos Garcia & W. Edward Steinmueller, 2003. "The Open Source Way of Working: a New Paradigm for the Division of Labour in Software Development?," SPRU Working Paper Series 92, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
- Jean-Michel Dalle & Paul David, 2005. "The Allocation of Software Development Resources In ‘Open Source’ Production Mode," Industrial Organization 0502011, EconWPA.
- Stefano Comino & Fabio Manenti & Marialaura Parisi, 2007.
"From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take-Off,"
"Marco Fanno" Working Papers
0035, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
- Stefano Comino & Fabio M. Manenti & Maria Laura Parisi, 2005. "From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take Off," Department of Economics Working Papers 0517, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
- Fabio M. Manenti & Stefano Comino & Marialaura Parisi, 2005. "From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take-Off," Industrial Organization 0507006, EconWPA, revised 29 Sep 2005.
- von Krogh, Georg & Spaeth, Sebastian & Lakhani, Karim R., 2003. "Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: a case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1217-1241, July.
- Paola Giuri & Gaia Rocchetti & Salvatore Torrisi, 2002. "Open Source Software: From Open Science to New Marketing Models," LEM Papers Series 2002/23, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- Dahlander, Linus & Wallin, Martin W., 2006. "A man on the inside: Unlocking communities as complementary assets," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 1243-1259, October.
- Mario A. Maggioni, 2004. "The Dynamics of Open Source Software Communities and Industrial Districts : the Role of Market and Non-Market Interactions," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 107(1), pages 127-150.
- Olsson, Ola & Frey, Bruno S, 2002.
" Entrepreneurship as Recombinant Growth,"
Small Business Economics,
Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 69-80, September.
- Antonelli, Cristiano, 2003. "Localized Technological Change," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200305, University of Turin.
- Bode, Eckhardt & Bickenbach, Frank, 2002. "Markov or not Markov - this should be a question," ERSA conference papers ersa02p024, European Regional Science Association.
- Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2005.
"The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 99-120, Spring.
- Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 10956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael Kremer & Alexei Onatski & James Stock, 2001.
"Searching for Prosperity,"
NBER Working Papers
8250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kremer, Michael & Onatski, Alexei & Stock, James, 2001. "Searching for prosperity," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 275-303, December.
- Fingleton, Bernard, 1997. "Specification and Testing of Markov Chain Models: An Application to Convergence in the European Union," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(3), pages 385-403, August.
- Scott E. Page, 2007.
"Prologue to The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies
[The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and So," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
- Francesco Rullani, 2006. "Dragging developers towards the core," KITeS Working Papers 190, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Feb 2007.
- Paola Giuri & Matteo Ploner & Francesco Rullani & Salvatore Torrisi, 2004. "Skills, Division of Labor and Performance in Collective Inventions. Evidence from the Open Source Software," LEM Papers Series 2004/19, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- Roberto Ezcurra & Edro Pascual & Manuel Rapun, 2006. "The Dynamics of Industrial Concentration in the Regions of the European Union," Growth and Change, Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky, vol. 37(2), pages 200-229.
- Bode, Eckhardt, 1998. "Lokale Wissensdiffusion und regionale Divergenz in Deutschland," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 1038, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
- Andreas Freytag & Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Institutions, Culture, and Open Source," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-010, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
- Paul David & Joseph Shapiro, 2008.
"Community-Based Production of Open Source Software: What Do We Know About the Developers Who Participate?,"
08-003, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- David, Paul A. & Shapiro, Joseph S., 2008. "Community-based production of open-source software: What do we know about the developers who participate?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 364-398, December.
- 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.
- Koch, Stefan, 2008. "Effort modeling and programmer participation in open source software projects," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 345-355, December.
- Ghafele, Roya & Gibert, Benjamin, 2012. "Efficiency through openness: the economic value proposition of open source software," MPRA Paper 38088, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Andreas Freytag & Sebastian von Engelhardt & Christoph Schulz, 2010.
"On the Geographic Allocation of Open Source Software Activities,"
Jena Economic Research Papers
2010-009, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
- Sebastian von Engelhardt & Andreas Freytag & Christoph Schulz, 2013. "On the Geographic Allocation of Open Source Software Activities," International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy (IJIDE), IGI Global, vol. 4(2), pages 25-39, April.
- Fabio Landini, 2012.
"Institutional Change and Information Production,"
Department of Economics University of Siena
645, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.