Preliminary steps toward a general theory of internet-based collective-action in digital information commons: Findings from a study of open source software projects

TitlePreliminary steps toward a general theory of internet-based collective-action in digital information commons: Findings from a study of open source software projects
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSchweik, Charles, and English Robert
Secondary TitleInternational Journal of the Commons
Volume7
Number2
ISSN Number1875-0281
Keywordscollaborative success and abandonment, common property regime, digital information commons, flossmole, Free/libre software, open source software, sourceforge, srda
Abstract

This paper presents some of the findings from a 5-year empirical study of FOSS (free/libre and open source software) commons, completed in 2011. FOSS projects are Internet-based common property regimes where the project source code is developed over the Internet. The resulting software is generally distributed with a license that provides users with the freedoms to access, use, read, modify and redistribute the software. In this study we used three different and very large datasets (approximately 107,000; 174,000 and 1400 cases respectively) with information on FOSS projects residing in Sourceforge.net, one of the largest, if not the largest, FOSS repository in the world. We employ various quantitative methods to uncover factors that lead some FOSS projects to ongoing collaborative success, while others become abandoned. After presenting some of our study’s results, we articulate the collaborative “story” of FOSS that emerged. We close the paper by discussing some key findings that can contribute to a general theory of Internet-based collective-action and FOSS-like forms of digital online commons.

URLhttp://www.thecommonsjournal.org/index.php/ijc/article/view/URN%3ANBN%3ANL%3AUI%3A10-1-114926