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Survival factors for Free Open Source Software projects: A multi-stage perspective


  • Wang, Jing


This paper uses a large data set of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) projects obtained from to investigate survival factors at various stages of a FOSS project’s lifecycle. It distinguishes FOSS projects that are still at the initial stage of development from those at the growth stage, and posits that the relative importance of the identified survival factors changes as FOSS projects evolve from one stage to the next. The results demonstrate the changing effect of factors over time affecting FOSS survival. Restrictive FOSS licenses and large internal and external networks are found to present advantages for projects that are at the initial stage, but the advantages dissipate as the projects move into the growth stage. Projects with high-quality external networks, greater levels of user/developer participation and service quality, and projects targeted at technical users have a higher likelihood of surviving at both stages. These findings show that a FOSS project team needs to be aware of the conditioning effect of time and focus on the appropriate mix of survival factors as the project moves from one stage to the next.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Jing, 2012. "Survival factors for Free Open Source Software projects: A multi-stage perspective," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 352-371.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:30:y:2012:i:4:p:352-371
    DOI: 10.1016/j.emj.2012.03.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. West, Joel, 2003. "How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1259-1285, July.
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    4. Stefano Comino & Fabio M. Manenti & Maria Laura Parisi, 2005. "From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take Off," Department of Economics Working Papers 0517, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    5. George Kuk, 2006. "Strategic Interaction and Knowledge Sharing in the KDE Developer Mailing List," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 1031-1042, July.
    6. Peppard, Joe, 2003. "Managing IT as a Portfolio of Services," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 467-483, August.
    7. Sasi, Viveca & Arenius, Pia, 2008. "International new ventures and social networks: Advantage or liability?," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 400-411, December.
    8. Lee, Sang-Yong Tom & Kim, Hee-Woong & Gupta, Sumeet, 2009. "Measuring open source software success," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 426-438, April.
    9. Rajdeep Grewal & Gary L. Lilien & Girish Mallapragada, 2006. "Location, Location, Location: How Network Embeddedness Affects Project Success in Open Source Systems," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 1043-1056, July.
    10. Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Rossi, Cristina, 2003. "Why Open Source software can succeed," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1243-1258, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marina Doroshenko & Kirill Skripkin, 2013. "Developing the National Software Market: Public Policy Alternatives," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 7(1), pages 44-57.


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