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Transition of Governance in a Mature Open Software Source Community: Evidence from the Debian Case

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Author Info

  • Sadowski, Bert

    ()
    (University of Technology Eindhoven)

  • Sadowski-Rasters, Gaby

    ()
    (Municipality of Eindhoven)

  • Duysters, Geert

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT)

Abstract

As flourishing, productive open source software (OSS) communities mature, they have to introduce a variety of governance mechanisms to manage the participation of their members and to coordinate the launch of new releases. In contrast to other modes of governance of OSS communities, the Debian community introduced new mechanisms of informal administrative control based on a constitution, elected leaders and new functions attributed to interactive communication channels (like mailing lists or IRC channels) that can provide for community effects (and feedback). We show that these control mechanisms were introduced as a response to emerging innovative opportunities due the usage of source packages and heterogeneous learning processes by different groups within the Debian community.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 039.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2007039

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Keywords: Open Source Software community; Governance Mechanism; Debian Community;

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  1. Dalle, Jean-Michel & Jullien, Nicolas, 2003. "'Libre' software: turning fads into institutions?," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-11, January.
  2. von Krogh, Georg & Spaeth, Sebastian & Lakhani, Karim R., 2003. "Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: a case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1217-1241, July.
  3. Giampaolo Garzarelli & Roberto Galoppini, 2003. "Capability Coordination in Modular Organization: Voluntary FS/OSS Production and the Case of Debian GNU/Linux," Industrial Organization, EconWPA 0312005, EconWPA.
  4. Duysters, Geert & Vanhaverbeke, Wim & Beerkens, Bonnie & Gilsing, Victor, 2007. "Exploration and Exploitation in Technology-based Alliance Networks," MERIT Working Papers, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) 020, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. 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.
  6. William G. Ouchi, 1979. "A Conceptual Framework for the Design of Organizational Control Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 25(9), pages 833-848, September.
  7. Alessandro Narduzzo & Alessandro Rossi, 2003. "Modularity in Action: GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source Software Development Model Unleashed," ROCK Working Papers, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy 020, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 13 Jun 2008.
  8. Franke, Nikolaus & Hippel, Eric von, 2003. "Satisfying heterogeneous user needs via innovation toolkits: the case of Apache security software," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1215, July.
  9. Johnson, Justin P., 2006. "Collaboration, peer review and open source software," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 477-497, November.
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Cited by:
  1. F. Rullani & L. Zirulia, 2011. "A supply side story for a threshold model: Endogenous growth of the free and open source community," Working Papers wp781, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. 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.

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