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From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take Off

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  • Stefano Comino
  • Fabio M. Manenti
  • Maria Laura Parisi

    ()

Abstract

Thanks to a recent and vast empirical literature, we know in details how the most popular open source projects are organized and why they succeed. However, open source is not only Linux: in this paper we use a large data-set obtained from SourceForge.net to estimate the main determinants of the progress in the development of a stable and mature code of an open source software. We show that projects geared towards sophisticated users (i.e. system administrators) or projects aimed at developing tools for the Internet, multimedia and software have greater chances to reach an advanced development stage. On the contrary, projects devoted to the production of applications for games and telecommunication as well as projects distributed under highly restrictive licensing terms (GPL) have a significantly smaller probability to advance. Interestingly, we find that the size of the "community of developers" increases the chances of progress but this effect decreases as the community gets larger, a signal of possible coordination problems. Finally, we show that the determinants of projects' development stage change with the age of the project in many dimensions thus supporting the common perception of open source as an extremely dynamic phenomenon.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0517.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpde:0517

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Keywords: software market; open source software; development status; intended audience; license;

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References

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  1. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," IDEI Working Papers, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse 219, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. West, Joel, 2003. "How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1259-1285, July.
  3. Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Rossi, Cristina, 2003. "Why Open Source software can succeed," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1243-1258, July.
  4. Andrea Bonaccorsi & Silvia Giannangeli & Cristina Rossi, 2006. "Entry Strategies Under Competing Standards: Hybrid Business Models in the Open Source Software Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 1085-1098, July.
  5. Stefano Comino & Fabio Manenti, 2005. "Government Policies Supporting Open Source Software for the Mass Market," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 217-240, December.
  6. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  7. Fershtman, Chaim & Gandal, Neil, 2004. "The Determinants of Output Per Contributor in Open Source Projects: An Empirical Examination," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Hertel, Guido & Niedner, Sven & Herrmann, Stefanie, 2003. "Motivation of software developers in Open Source projects: an Internet-based survey of contributors to the Linux kernel," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Paul A. David & Francesco Rullani, 2008. "Dynamics of innovation in an “open source” collaboration environment: lurking, laboring, and launching FLOSS projects on SourceForge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 647-710, August.
  2. Francesco Rullani, 2006. "Dragging developers towards the core. How the Free/Libre/Open Source Software community enhances developers’ contribution," LEM Papers Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy 2006/22, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  3. Francesco Rullani, 2006. "Dragging developers towards the core," KITeS Working Papers, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy 190, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Feb 2007.
  4. 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, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy 2006/26, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  5. Stephen M. Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2006. "Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 12148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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