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Geographic origin of libre software developers

Author

Listed:
  • Gonzalez-Barahona, Jesus M.
  • Robles, Gregorio
  • Andradas-Izquierdo, Roberto
  • Ghosh, Rishab Aiyer

Abstract

This paper examines the claim that libre (free, open source) software involves global development. The anecdotal evidence is that developers usually work in teams including individuals residing in many different geographical areas, time zones and even continents and that, as a whole, the libre software community is also diverse in terms of national origin. However, its exact composition is difficult to capture, since there are few records of the geographical location of developers. Past studies have been based on surveying a limited (and sometimes biased) sample and extrapolating that sample to the global distribution of developers. In this paper we present an alternate approach in which databases are analyzed to create traces of information from which the geographical origin of developers can be inferred. Applying this technique to the SourceForge users database and the mailing lists archives from several large projects, we have estimated the geographical origin of more than one million individuals who are closely related to the libre software development process. The paper concludes that the result is a good proxy for the actual distribution of libre software developers working on global projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Gonzalez-Barahona, Jesus M. & Robles, Gregorio & Andradas-Izquierdo, Roberto & Ghosh, Rishab Aiyer, 2008. "Geographic origin of libre software developers," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 356-363, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:20:y:2008:i:4:p:356-363
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
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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. Sebastian von Engelhardt & Andreas Freytag & Christoph Schulz, 2013. "On the Geographic Allocation of Open Source Software Activities," International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy (IJIDE), IGI Global, vol. 4(2), pages 25-39, April.
    4. Krishnamurthy, Sandeep & Ou, Shaosong & Tripathi, Arvind K., 2014. "Acceptance of monetary rewards in open source software development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 632-644.
    5. Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2011. "What Economists Know about Open Source Software - Its Basic Principles and Research Results," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-005, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

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