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Dragging developers towards the core. How the Free/Libre/Open Source Software community enhances developers’ contribution

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Author Info

  • Francesco Rullani

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. In particular, the study shows that the relative importance of different incentives do change over time. Drawing inspiration from the literature aimed at explaining these changes, 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2006/22.

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Date of creation: 20 Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2006/22

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Related research

Keywords: Free/Libre/Open Source Software; Incentives to Innovate; Dynamics of Motivations; Cooperation; Community.;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Paul A. David & Dominique Foray, 2005. "Economic Fundamentals Of the Knowledge Society," Development and Comp Systems 0502008, EconWPA.
  2. Jürgen Bitzer & Wolfram Schrettl & Philipp J.H. Schröder, 2005. "Intrinsic Motivation in Open Source Software Development," Development and Comp Systems 0505007, EconWPA.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Dasgupta, Partha & David, Paul, 1985. "Information Disclosure and the Economics of Science and Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 73, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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".
  8. Josh Lerner, 2005. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 20-56, April.
  9. Jean-Michel Dalle & Paul David, 2005. "The Allocation of Software Development Resources In ‘Open Source’ Production Mode," Industrial Organization 0502011, EconWPA.
  10. 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).
  11. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Working Papers 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
  12. 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.
  13. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  14. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Paul A. David & Francesco Rullani, 2006. "Micro-dynamics of Free and Open Source Software Development. Lurking, laboring and launching new projects on SourceForge," LEM Papers Series 2006/26, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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