Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Firms on SourceForge

Eilhard, Jan (2008): Firms on SourceForge.

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Abstract

This paper explores empirically what factors influence a firm’s decision to contribute and to take leadership in open source projects. Increasing firms’ participation in the development of open source software (OSS) is generally perceived as a puzzle. Assuming that firms face a ”Make-or-Buy” decision before using OSS, we argue that contribution is in fact the best way for them to keep control of their supplier in a context where incomplete open source licenses govern transactions. Building on this proposition, we derive predictions on the drivers of firms’ contribution and leadership in open source projects, and test them on a unique dataset of 4,808 open source projects extracted from Sourceforge. Our empirical findings confirm the predictions and lend support to our hypotheses.

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