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"Libre" software : turning fads into institutions?

Author

Listed:
  • Jean-Michel Dalle

    (ENS Cachan - École normale supérieure - Cachan)

  • Nicolas Jullien

    () (MARSOUIN - Môle Armoricain de Recherche sur la SOciété de l'information et des usages d'INternet - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - UEB - Université européenne de Bretagne - UBS - Université de Bretagne Sud - UBO - Université de Brest - Télécom Bretagne - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de Analyse de l'Information - Rennes - Institut Mines-Télécom [Paris] - UR2 - Université de Rennes 2 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes)

Abstract

The article presents an economic analysis of Libre software and of its sustainability as a new economic model for software. We underline the role of Libre software development communities and analyze incentives for both kernel and obscure developers. We emphasize the role of the so-called 'public' licenses to provide an appropriate institutional framework. We show that several features of Libre software also allow it to improve faster than proprietary software, and therefore to achieve strong market performance when competing against existing standards, even when proprietary software producers react. We illustrate our point using a simple local and global interaction model to study the technological competition between Linux and Windows on the server operating system (OS) market. We finally argue that if sufficient initial momentum could be created through public intervention Libre software could turn from a fad into an efficient economic institution to correct inefficiencies due to network externalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Michel Dalle & Nicolas Jullien, 2003. ""Libre" software : turning fads into institutions?," Post-Print hal-00287967, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00287967
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00287967
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Josh Lerner & Jean Triole, 2000. "The Simple Economics of Open Source," NBER Working Papers 7600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
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    6. Harhoff, Dietmar & Henkel, Joachim & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "Profiting from voluntary information spillovers: how users benefit by freely revealing their innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1753-1769, December.
    7. Cowan, Robin & Foray, Dominique, 1997. "The Economics of Codification and the Diffusion of Knowledge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 595-622, September.
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