From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take-Off
Thanks to a recent and vast empirical literature, we know in details how the most popular open source projects are organized and why they succeed. However open source is not only Linux: in this paper we use a large data-set obtained from SourceForge.net to estimate the main determinants of the progress in the development of a stable and mature code of an open source software. We show that projects geared towards sophisticated users (i.e. system administrators) or projects aimed at developing tools for the Internet, multimedia and software have greater chances to reach an advanced development stage. On the contrary, projects devoted to the production of applications for games and telecommunication as well as projects distributed under highly restrictive licensing terms (GPL) have a significantly smaller probability to advance. Interestingly, we find that the size of the "community of developers" increases the chances of progress but this effect decreases as the community gets larger, a signal of possible coordination problems. Finally, we show that the determinants of projects' development stage change with the age of the project in many dimensions thus supporting the common perception of open source as an extremely dynamic phenomenon.
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