Do Open Source Developers Respond to Competition? The (La)TeX Case Study

Review of Network Economics, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 239-263, June 2007

25 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2007

See all articles by Alexia Gaudeul

Alexia Gaudeul

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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Abstract

This paper traces the history of TeX, the open source typesetting program. TeX was an early and very successful open source project that imposed its standards in a particularly competitive environment and inspired many advances in the typesetting industry. Developed over three decades, TeX came into competition with a variety of open source and proprietary alternatives. I argue from this case study that open source developers derive direct and indirect network externalities from the use of their software by others and must therefore consider non-developers' needs to make their software more attractive to a broader audience and more competitive with proprietary alternatives.

Keywords: Open Source Software, Network Effects, Platform Competition, Product Differentiation, Information Goods, Intellectual Property, Production Systems, Competition, Non-Profit, Volunteer Organizations

JEL Classification: D23, H41, L13, L22, L31, L86, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Gaudeul, Alexia, Do Open Source Developers Respond to Competition? The (La)TeX Case Study. Review of Network Economics, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 239-263, June 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1016962

Alexia Gaudeul (Contact Author)

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany
+49 (0) 551 39 7333 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://agaudeul.free.fr

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