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Do Open Source Developers Respond to Competition? The LATEX Case Study


  • Gaudeul Alex

    () (University of East Anglia)


This paper traces the history of TEX, the open source typesetting program. TEX was an early and very successful open source project that imposed its standards in a particularly competitive environment and inspired many advances in the typesetting industry. Developed over three decades, TEX came into competition with a variety of open source and proprietary alternatives. I argue from this case study that open source developers derive direct and indirect network externalities from the use of their software by others and must therefore consider non-developers' needs to make their software more attractive to a broader audience and more competitive with proprietary alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaudeul Alex, 2007. "Do Open Source Developers Respond to Competition? The LATEX Case Study," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-25, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rneart:v:6:y:2007:i:2:n:9

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    Cited by:

    1. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
    2. Bottai, Carlo, 2015. "Open Innovation in a Model à la Hotelling," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201526, University of Turin.
    3. Llanes, Gastón & de Elejalde, Ramiro, 2013. "Industry equilibrium with open-source and proprietary firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 36-49.
    4. den Besten, Matthijs & Dalle, Jean-Michel & Galia, Fabrice, 2008. "The allocation of collaborative efforts in open-source software," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 316-322, December.
    5. Alexia Gaudeul, 2009. "Consumer Welfare and Market Structure in a Model of Competition between Open Source and Proprietary Software," International Journal of Open Source Software and Processes (IJOSSP), IGI Global, vol. 1(2), pages 43-65, April.
    6. Gaudeul, Alexia, 2008. "Open Source Licensing in Mixed Markets, or Why Open Source Software Does Not Succeed," MPRA Paper 19596, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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