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Firms on SourceForge

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  • Eilhard, Jan

Abstract

This paper explores empirically what factors influence a firm’s decision to contribute and to take leadership in open source projects. Increasing firms’ participation in the development of open source software (OSS) is generally perceived as a puzzle. Assuming that firms face a ”Make-or-Buy” decision before using OSS, we argue that contribution is in fact the best way for them to keep control of their supplier in a context where incomplete open source licenses govern transactions. Building on this proposition, we derive predictions on the drivers of firms’ contribution and leadership in open source projects, and test them on a unique dataset of 4,808 open source projects extracted from Sourceforge. Our empirical findings confirm the predictions and lend support to our hypotheses.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 7809.

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Date of creation: 28 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7809

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Keywords: Open source; transaction cost; governance; firm boundaries; software;

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References

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  1. Linus Dahlander, 2005. "Appropriation And Appropriability In Open Source Software," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 9(03), pages 259-285.
  2. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  3. James Love & Stephen Roper, 2002. "Internal Versus External R&D: A Study of R&D Choice with Sample Selection," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 239-255.
  4. Veugelers, Reinhilde & Cassiman, Bruno, 1999. "Make and buy in innovation strategies: evidence from Belgian manufacturing firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 63-80, January.
  5. Gooroochurn, Nishaal & Hanley, Aoife, 2007. "A tale of two literatures: Transaction costs and property rights in innovation outsourcing," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1483-1495, December.
  6. Kamien, Morton I. & Zang, Israel, 2000. "Meet me halfway: research joint ventures and absorptive capacity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(7), pages 995-1012, October.
  7. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 10956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Oliver E. Williamson, 1967. "Hierarchical Control and Optimum Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 123.
  9. Henkel, Joachim, 2006. "Selective revealing in open innovation processes: The case of embedded Linux," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 953-969, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Freytag & Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Institutions, Culture, and Open Source," Jena Economic Research Papers, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics 2010-010, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Andreas Freytag & Sebastian von Engelhardt & Christoph Schulz, 2010. "On the Geographic Allocation of Open Source Software Activities," Jena Economic Research Papers, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics 2010-009, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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