Developing 'Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS)' - A Market Driven Investment

17 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2008 Last revised: 25 Mar 2009

See all articles by Nicolas Jullien

Nicolas Jullien

M@rsouin (Môle Amoricain de Recherche sur la Société de l'information et les Usages d'Internet); IMT Atlantique

Date Written: November 10, 2008


Over the last few years, FLOSS ("Free Libre Open Source Software") has become a commercially viable reality of the first order. It is viewed as an extreme case of open innovation (Chesbrough, 2003), and thus of a laboratory for analysing innovation production in Internet based/knowledge based industries.

It the FLOSS field an increasing number of companies are getting involved in the communities of development (Lakhani & Wolf 2005). Scholars (see, for instance Dahlander & Wallin 2006) have analysed this as a way to control a complementary asset, without owning it (as defined by Teece 1986, Teece & al. 1997). In this article, we defend the idea that involvement can be of different intensity, from complementary to specific asset, and that this intensity depends of the market of the firm.

To do so, we surveyed francophone companies (France, Belgium, Switzerland) affirming an utilization of FLOSS in their commercial activity. Based on roughly 500 companies concerned, we obtained 141 usable responses and, via an ascendant hierarchical clustering (AHC) we statistically verified a link between FLOSS commercial strategies and degree of involvement into communities. We propose a typology of commercial strategies explaining this differences in involvement.

Keywords: IT industry, FLOSS, Market strategy, core competencies, Survey, Ascendant Hierarchical Clustering

JEL Classification: L22, L23, L86

Suggested Citation

Jullien, Nicolas and Jullien, Nicolas, Developing 'Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS)' - A Market Driven Investment (November 10, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Nicolas Jullien (Contact Author)

IMT Atlantique ( email )

Technopole de Brest Iroise
Brest, 29238

M@rsouin (Môle Amoricain de Recherche sur la Société de l'information et les Usages d'Internet) ( email )


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