The Determinants of Open Source Quality: An Empirical Investigation
AbstractOpen source (OS) licenses differ in the conditions under which licensors and OS contributors are allowed to modify and redistribute the source code. While recent research has explored the determinants of license choice, we know little about the impact of license choice on project success. In this paper, we measure success by the speed with which programming bugs are fixed. Using data obtained from SourceForge.net, a free service that hosts OS projects, we test whether the license chosen by project leaders influences bug resolution rates. In initial regressions, we find a strong correlation between the hazard of bug resolution and the use of highly restrictive licenses. However, license choices are likely to be endogenous. We instrument license choice using (i) the human language in which contributors operate and (ii) the license choice of the project leaders for a previous project. We then find weak evidence that restrictive licenses adversely affect project success.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Florida International University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0704.
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
open source software; property rights; copy-left;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
- K39 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Other
- O30 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-04-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-ICT-2007-04-14 (Information & Communication Technologies)
- NEP-INO-2007-04-14 (Innovation)
- NEP-IPR-2007-04-14 (Intellectual Property Rights)
- NEP-PPM-2007-04-14 (Project, Program & Portfolio Management)
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