The evolution of free/libre open source software

TitleThe evolution of free/libre open source software
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBenussi, L
Date PublishedDecember

The Free Libre Open Source Software represents an outstanding example of ???open development model of technological knowledge???. It has been studied in several researches that produced valuable illustrations of the way it works. Our understanding of its principal features is growing exponentially and an entire new literature on open source has been created. However there appears to be an important gap in the literature: the origin of the phenomenon. The following chapter attempts to tackle this issue by analyzing the long-term technological history of the Free Open Source Software; the main research questions at stake are: ???Is the phenomenon completely new? and if it is not totally new, where does it come from???? and, more generally, ???how did open source software developed over time????. As a consequence the present work focuses primarily on the analysis of the free/open source software history of technological change over a period of almost sixty years. I adopted a multidisciplinary approach to analyse the network of relations emerging between inventions and technological innovations, as well as economic determinants and intellectual property rights regimes throughout the period considered. Therefore, I attempted to investigate the origins of the phenomenon as a way of understanding its evolution.

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