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Transition of governance in a mature open software source community: Evidence from the Debian case


  • Sadowski, Bert M.
  • Sadowski-Rasters, Gaby
  • Duysters, Geert


As 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. The Debian community introduced new mechanisms of informal administrative control based on a constitution, elected leaders, and used interactive communication channels. We show that these control mechanisms were introduced as a response to emerging innovative opportunities due to the usage of source packages and to the need to build a responsive organization within the Debian OSS community.

Suggested Citation

  • Sadowski, Bert M. & Sadowski-Rasters, Gaby & Duysters, Geert, 2008. "Transition of governance in a mature open software source community: Evidence from the Debian case," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 323-332, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:20:y:2008:i:4:p:323-332

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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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.
    3. Sadowski, Bert M., 2017. "Advanced users and the adoption of high speed broadband: Results of a living lab study in the Netherlands," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 1-14.

    More about this item


    Open source software community Governance Debian;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General


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