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Community-based production of open-source software: What do we know about the developers who participate?

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  • David, Paul A.
  • Shapiro, Joseph S.

Abstract

This paper seeks to close an empirical gap regarding the motivations, personal attributes and behavioral patterns among free/libre and open-source (FLOSS) developers, especially those involved in community-based production, and considers the bearing of its findings on the existing literature and the future directions for research. Respondents to an extensive web-survey's (FLOSS-US 2003) questions about their reasons for beginning to work FLOSS are classified according to their distinct "motivational profiles" by hierarchical cluster analysis. Over half of them also are matched to projects of known membership sizes, revealing that although some members from each of the clusters are present in the small, medium and large ranges of the distribution of project sizes, the mixing fractions for the large and the very small project ranges are statistically different. Among developers who changed projects, there is a discernable flow from the bottom toward the very small towards to large projects, some of which is motivated by individuals seeking to improve their programming skills. It is found that the profile of early motivation, along with other individual attributes, significantly affects individual developers' selections of projects from different regions of the size range.

Suggested Citation

  • David, Paul A. & Shapiro, Joseph S., 2008. "Community-based production of open-source software: What do we know about the developers who participate?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 364-398, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:20:y:2008:i:4:p:364-398
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    1. Haruvy Ernan E & Wu Fang & Chakravarty Sujoy, 2005. "Incentives for Developers’ Contributions and Product Performance Metrics in Open Source Development: An Empirical Exploration," IIMA Working Papers WP2005-03-04, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
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    9. Paul A. David & Francesco Rullani, 2008. "Dynamics of innovation in an “open source” collaboration environment: lurking, laboring, and launching FLOSS projects on SourceForge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 647-710, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Tom Dedeurwaerdere & Paolo Melindi-Ghidi & Willem Sas, 2015. "Voluntary Provision of Public Knowledge Goods: Group-Based Social Preferences and Coalition Formation," AMSE Working Papers 1545, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 03 Nov 2015.
    3. Darr, Asaf, 2014. "Note from the editor. Introduction: Online markets," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 16(1), pages 2-3.
    4. Mollick, Ethan, 2014. "The dynamics of crowdfunding: An exploratory study," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16.
    5. Tom DEDEURWAERDERE & Paolo MELINDI GHIDI, 2013. "Voluntary Pooled Public Knowledge Goods and Coalition Formation," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Quality Competition or Quality Cooperation? License-Type and the Strategic Nature of Open Source vs. Closed Source Business Models," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    7. Landini, Fabio, 2012. "Technology, property rights and organizational diversity in the software industry," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 137-150.
    8. repec:bla:stratm:v:37:y:2016:i:13:p:2589-2610 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Open-source software FLOSS projects Community-based peer production Population heterogeneity Micro-motives Motivational profiles Web-cast surveys Hierarchical cluster analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L39 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Other
    • P13 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Cooperative Enterprises

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