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Dynamics of Innovation in an “Open Source” Collaboration Environment: Lurking, Laboring and Launching FLOSS Projects on SourceForge

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  • Paul David

    () (Knowledge Networks and Institutions for Innovation Program, Stanford)

  • Francesco Rullani

    (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali (DPTEA))

Abstract

A systems analysis perspective is adopted to examine the critical properties of the Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) mode of innovation, as reflected on the SourceForge platform (SF.net). This approach re-scales March’s (1991) framework and applies it to characterize the “innovation system” of a “distributed organization” of interacting agents in a virtual collaboration environment. The innovation system of the virtual collaboration environment is an emergent property of two “coupled” processes: one involves interactions among agents searching for information to use in designing novel software products, and the other involves the mobilization of individual capabilities for application in the software development projects. Micro-dynamics of this system are studied empirically by constructing transition probability matrices representing movements of 222,835 SF.net users among 7 different activity states. Estimated probabilities are found to form first-order Markov chains describing ergodic processes. This makes it possible to computate the equilibrium distribution of agents among the states, thereby suppressing transient effects and revealing persisting patterns of project-joining and project-launching.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul David & Francesco Rullani, 2007. "Dynamics of Innovation in an “Open Source” Collaboration Environment: Lurking, Laboring and Launching FLOSS Projects on SourceForge," Discussion Papers 07-022, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-022
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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. Ghafele, Roya & Gibert, Benjamin, 2012. "Efficiency through openness: the economic value proposition of open source software," MPRA Paper 38088, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. Koch, Stefan, 2008. "Effort modeling and programmer participation in open source software projects," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 345-355, December.
    5. Antonelli, Cristiano, 2017. "Digital Knowledge Generation and the Appropriability Trade-Off," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201705, University of Turin.
    6. Francesco Rullani & Francesco Zirpoli, 2013. "Coordination of joint search in distributed innovation processes: Lessons from the effects of initial code release in Open Source Software development," Working Papers 20, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    7. Landini, Fabio, 2013. "Institutional change and information production," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 257-284, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Giovanni Dosi & Jean-Luc Gaffard & Lionel Nesta, 2008. "Schumpeterian themes on industrial evolution, structural change and their microfoundations: an introduction," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 601-609, August.
    10. 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.
    11. Rullani, Francesco & Haefliger, Stefan, 2013. "The periphery on stage: The intra-organizational dynamics in online communities of creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 941-953.
    12. repec:bla:stratm:v:37:y:2016:i:13:p:2589-2610 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    innovation systems; collaborative development environments; industrial districts; exploration and exploitation dynamics; open source software; FLOSS; SourceForge; project-joining; project-founding; Markov chain analysis.;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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