Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Community-Based Production of Open Source Software: What Do We Know about the Developers Who Participate?

71 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2008 Last revised: 29 Sep 2013

Paul A. David

Stanford University - Department of Economics; University of Oxford - All Souls College; UNU-MERIT (Maastricht)

Joseph S. Shapiro

Yale University, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Date Written: September 23, 2008

Abstract

This paper seeks to close an empirical gap regarding the motivations, personal attributes and behavioral patterns among free/libre and open source (FLOSS) developers, especially those involved in community-based production, and considers the bearing of its findings on the existing literature and the future directions for research. Respondents to an extensive web-survey's (FLOSS-US 2003) questions about their reasons for beginning to work FLOSS are classified according to their distinct motivational profiles by hierarchical cluster analysis. Over half of them also are matched to projects of known membership sizes, revealing that although some members from each of the clusters are present in the small, medium and large ranges of the distribution of project sizes, the mixing fractions for the large and the very small project ranges are statistically different. Among developers who changed projects, there is a discernable flow from the bottom toward the very small towards to large projects, some of which is motivated by individuals seeking to improve their programming skills. It is found that the profile of early motivation, along with other individual attributes, significantly affects individual developers' selections of projects from different regions of the size range.

Keywords: Open-source software, FLOSS projects, community-based peer production, population heterogeneity, micro-motives, motivational profiles, web-cast surveys, hierarchical cluster analysis

JEL Classification: J22, L17, L23, L25, L39, P13

Suggested Citation

David, Paul A. and Shapiro, Joseph S., Community-Based Production of Open Source Software: What Do We Know about the Developers Who Participate? (September 23, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1286273 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1286273

Paul A. David (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650 723-3710 (Phone)
650 725-5702 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www-econ.stanford.edu/faculty/

University of Oxford - All Souls College ( email )

High Street
Oxford, Oxon. OX1 4AL
United Kingdom
44 (0)1865 279299 (Phone)
44 (0)1865 279313 (Fax)

UNU-MERIT (Maastricht) ( email )

Keizer Karel Plein 19
Maastricht, TC 6211
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://ccg.merit.unu.edu/

Joseph S. Shapiro

Yale University, Department of Economics ( email )

37 Hillhouse Ave, Room 34
New Haven, CT 06510
United States
203-432-5075 (Phone)
203-432-6323 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://economics.yale.edu/people/joseph-s-shapiro

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
120
Rank
196,754
Abstract Views
1,316