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Transition of Governance in a Mature Open Software Source Community: Evidence from the Debian Case

  • Sadowski, Bert

    ()

    (University of Technology Eindhoven)

  • Sadowski-Rasters, Gaby

    ()

    (Municipality of Eindhoven)

  • Duysters, Geert

    ()

    (UNU-MERIT)

As flourishing, productive open source software (OSS) communities mature, they have to introduce a variety of governance mechanisms to manage the participation of their members and to coordinate the launch of new releases. In contrast to other modes of governance of OSS communities, the Debian community introduced new mechanisms of informal administrative control based on a constitution, elected leaders and new functions attributed to interactive communication channels (like mailing lists or IRC channels) that can provide for community effects (and feedback). We show that these control mechanisms were introduced as a response to emerging innovative opportunities due the usage of source packages and heterogeneous learning processes by different groups within the Debian community.

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File URL: http://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2007/wp2007-039.pdf
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Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 039.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2007039
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  1. 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.
  2. Duysters, Geert & Vanhaverbeke, Wim & Beerkens, Bonnie & Gilsing, Victor, 2007. "Exploration and Exploitation in Technology-based Alliance Networks," MERIT Working Papers 020, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Alessandro Rossi & Alessandro Narduzzo, 2003. "Modularity in action.GNU/Linux and free/Open source sotfware development model unleashed," Quaderni DISA 078, Department of Computer and Management Sciences, University of Trento, Italy, revised 29 Jun 2003.
  4. 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.
  5. William G. Ouchi, 1979. "A Conceptual Framework for the Design of Organizational Control Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(9), pages 833-848, September.
  6. Johnson, Justin P., 2006. "Collaboration, peer review and open source software," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 477-497, November.
  7. Franke, Nikolaus & Hippel, Eric von, 2003. "Satisfying heterogeneous user needs via innovation toolkits: the case of Apache security software," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1215, July.
  8. Giampaolo Garzarelli & Roberto Galoppini, 2003. "Capability Coordination in Modular Organization: Voluntary FS/OSS Production and the Case of Debian GNU/Linux," Industrial Organization 0312005, EconWPA.
  9. Dalle, Jean-Michel & Jullien, Nicolas, 2003. "'Libre' software: turning fads into institutions?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-11, January.
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