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The Determinants of Open Source Quality: An Empirical Investigation

  • Ioana Popovici

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

Open source (OS) licenses differ in the conditions under which licensors and OS contributors are allowed to modify and redistribute the source code. While recent research has explored the determinants of license choice, we know little about the impact of license choice on project success. In this paper, we measure success by the speed with which programming bugs are fixed. Using data obtained from SourceForge.net, a free service that hosts OS projects, we test whether the license chosen by project leaders influences bug resolution rates. In initial regressions, we find a strong correlation between the hazard of bug resolution and the use of highly restrictive licenses. However, license choices are likely to be endogenous. We instrument license choice using (i) the human language in which contributors operate and (ii) the license choice of the project leaders for a previous project. We then find weak evidence that restrictive licenses adversely affect project success.

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File URL: http://casgroup.fiu.edu/pages/docs/2243/1275228501_07-04.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Florida International University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0704.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fiu:wpaper:0704
Contact details of provider: Postal: Miami, FL 33199
Phone: (305) 348-2316
Fax: (305) 348-1524
Web page: http://casgroup.fiu.edu/Economics/

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  1. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," IDEI Working Papers 219, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  3. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 10956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dahlander, Linus & Magnusson, Mats G., 2005. "Relationships between open source software companies and communities: Observations from Nordic firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 481-493, May.
  5. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  6. von Krogh, Georg & Spaeth, Sebastian & Lakhani, Karim R., 2003. "Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: a case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1217-1241, July.
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