Open Source Software Development Patterns and License Terms
This paper examines the choice of license terms along the development of a piece of software. Three licenses are compared, the proprietary one, the Berkeley Software Distribution, and the General Public License. The choice of one or the other license depends on the characteristics of the software's user base, the market conditions on the developers' job market and the costs involved in maintaining a proprietary software vs. the costs involved in coordinating a software project in a decentralized fashion. That choice influences the distribution of welfare between users, developers and the software's development leader. It also determines the software's pace of development and thus the level of welfare generated. The model explains why a software's license terms may change along its development. Several scenarii may arise, depending on the initial conditions and the chance events along the life of the project. In the context of this paper, open-source license terms are chosen even when they result in a reduction in global welfare. Welfare is increased by forbidding the use of the GPL license terms and going back to the alternative between proprietary and public domain licenses.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1985.
"Dynamic R&D Competition,"
NBER Working Papers
1674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cowan Robin & Jonard Nicolas & Özman Müge, 2003. "Knowledge Dynamics in a Network Industry," Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
- Stanley M. Besen & Leo J. Raskind, 1991. "An Introduction to the Law and Economics of Intellectual Property," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 3-27, Winter.
- Biais, Bruno & Perotti, Enrico, 2008.
"Entrepreneurs and New Ideas,"
IDEI Working Papers
347, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 0000.
- Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alex Gaudeul, 2004.
"The LaTeX project: A case study of open source software,"
0409010, EconWPA, revised 20 Apr 2005.
- Alexandre Gaudeul, 2004. "The LaTeX project: A case study of open-source software," Industrial Organization 0409009, EconWPA.
- Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0409008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.