Why open source software can succeed

TitleWhy open source software can succeed
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsBonaccorsi, A
Secondary TitleRP Special Issue
Date PublishedFebruary

The paper discusses three key economic problems raised by the emergence and diffusion of open source software: motivation, coordination, and diffusion under a dominant standard. First the movement took off through the activity of a software development community that deliberately did not follow profit motivations. Second, a hierarchical coordination emerged without the support of an organization with proprietary rights. Third, Linux and other open source systems diffused in an evnvironment dominated by established proprietary standards, which benefited from significant increasing returns. The paper show that recent developments in the theory of critical mass in the diffusion of technologies with network externality may help to explain these phenomena.

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