Date of Original Version

12-2011

Type

Conference Proceeding

Abstract or Description

Open source software (OSS) development has received considerable attention in the literature (Fitzgerald 2006). Projects developed within the OSS community have enjoyed tremendous success and for-profit organizations are keen to tap into this significant pool of software development talent (Chesbrough 2003; Feller et al. 2008). Examples include Netscape, IBM, MySQL, JBoss and Google (MacCormack, Rusnak et al. 2006; Hauge, Ayala et al. 2010). The ability to draw upon the expertise of developers in the OSS community offers many clear advantages to organizations. However, they must balance the benefits of openness and the ability to make a profit (Shah 2006; West 2003). Specifically, companies must balance intellectual property concerns with the reciprocal and community-based norms that drive OSS development (Stewart and Gosain 2006). For instance, organizations may be concerned about developers leaking source code-based intellectual property into the public domain (Henkel 2008). In addition to intellectual property concerns, allowing people to contribute source code does not ensure that developers will contribute their efforts to the development of the application (MacCormack, Rusnak et al. 2006). The Eclipse project gets most of its platform maintenance from IBM employees (Wagstrom 2009). An additional challenge is that organizational commercial interests are seemingly inimical to the ideology that proponents of the OSS community embrace, causing members of the community to be less enthusiastic about for-profit sponsored projects (Stewart, Ammeter and Maruping 2006).

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Published In

Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), 2011.