Decoding the "Free/Open Source(F/OSS) Software Puzzle" a survey of theoretical and empirical contributions
F/OSS software has been described by many as a puzzle. In the past five years, it has stimulated the curiosity of scholars in a variety of fields, including economics, law, psychology, anthropology and computer science, so that the number of contributions on the subject has increased exponentially. The purpose of this paper is to provide a sufficiently comprehensive account of these contributions in order to draw some general conclusions on the state of our understanding of the phenomenon and identify directions for future research. The exercise suggests that what is puzzling about F/OSS is not so much the fact that people freely contribute to a good they make available to all, but rather the complexity of its institutional structure and its ability to organizationally evolve over time.
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