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Dragging developers towards the core

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Author Info

  • Francesco Rullani

    (LEM - Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy and IVS – Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark.)

Abstract

The paper presents a dynamic perspective on the landscape of Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) developers’ motivations and tries to isolate mechanisms sustaining developers’ contribution over time. The first part of the paper uses data gathered by the empirical studies relative to the FLOSS case to judge the relative importance of each group of incentives detected by the literature. In the second part of the paper, the same data are used to further characterize developers’ motivations in dynamics terms, showing how the relative importance of different incentives changes over time. Drawing inspiration from these results, the third part of the paper identifies a specific mechanism fostering developers’ contribution to the community activities, namely that: “Independently of developers’ exogenous preferences, the more their exposure to the FLOSS community social environment, the more their contribution to the community activities”. The key point of this hypothesis is that, if the exposure to the FLOSS community social environment is able to foster developers’ contribution beyond the level granted by their predetermined preferences, this leads directly to the evidence that the FLOSS community is provided with a mechanism sustaining and enhancing developers’ incentives to produce and diffuse code. In the last part of the paper, data relative to 14,497 developers working on SourceForge.net during two years (2001-2002) are employed to estimate a model testing the aforementioned hypothesis. Endogeneity problems are explicitly accounted for, and robustness checks are performed in order to make sure that the observed confirmation of the hypothesis is actually an empirically grounded result.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.unibocconi.it/pub/RePEc/cri/papers/WP190Rullani.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 190.

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Length: pages 32
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision: Feb 2007
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp190

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Related research

Keywords: Free/Libre/Open Source Software; incentives to innovate; dynamics of motivations; cooperation; community.;

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References

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  1. 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".
  2. Sydney Winter & Giovanni Dosi, 2000. "Interpreting Economic Change: Evolution, Structures and Games," LEM Papers Series 2000/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  3. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," IDEI Working Papers 219, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. 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.
  5. Paul A. David & Dominique Foray, . "Economic Fundamentals of the Knowledge Society," Working Papers 02003, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  6. Lindgren, Monica & Wåhlin, Nils, 2001. "Identity construction among boundary-crossing individuals," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 357-377, September.
  7. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS).
  8. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  9. Weber, Steven, 2000. "The Political Economy of Open Source Software," UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, Working Paper Series qt3hq916dc, UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, UC Berkeley.
  10. Jean-Michel Dalle & Paul David, 2005. "The Allocation of Software Development Resources In ‘Open Source’ Production Mode," Industrial Organization 0502011, EconWPA.
  11. 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.
  12. Alan Kirman & Miriam Teschl, 2006. "Searching for identity in the capability space," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 299-325.
  13. 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.
  14. Dasgupta, Partha & David, Paul, 1985. "Information Disclosure and the Economics of Science and Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 73, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Paul David & Joseph Shapiro, 2008. "Community-Based Production of Open Source Software: What Do We Know About the Developers Who Participate?," Discussion Papers 08-003, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

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