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Floss firms, users and communities: a viable match?

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  • Nicolas Jullien
  • Jean-Benoît Zimmermann

Abstract

The participation of firms in Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) communities is growing and is increasingly debated among scholars. As Ousterhout (1999) explained, “FLOSS needs profit” and we do not know of any successful FLOSS products without firms in their ecosystem, either through the financial support of foundations (Eclipse, Linux) or the commercial supply of products or services (MySQL, Red Hat Linux). Various views of these phenomena have been proposed, but scholars have usually studied either the involvement of firms in a community or the integration of FLOSS into their market strategy, but not both. In this article, we argue for a more structured and global analysis, based on concepts of industrial economics, and thus starting from the basic conditions of the computer market and demand. This conceptual framework helps to distinguish the different roles firms may play in the FLOSS ecosystem and, more specifically, the different ways they are involved in development. JEL Codes: L11, L15, L22, L86

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Jullien & Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 2011. "Floss firms, users and communities: a viable match?," Journal of Innovation Economics, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 31-53.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:jiedbu:jie_007_0031
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Jullien & Jean-Benoît Zimmermann, 2011. "FLOSS in an industrial economics perspective," Revue d'économie industrielle, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(4), pages 39-64.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    free/libre or open source software; industrial economics; user skill; firms' roles;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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