Why Open Source Software Can Succeed

LEM Working Paper No. 2002/15

31 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2003

See all articles by Andrea Bonaccorsi

Andrea Bonaccorsi

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM)

Cristina Rossi Lamastra

Politecnico di Milano

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

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 environment dominated by established proprietary standards, which benefited from significant increasing returns. The paper shows that recent developments in the theory of critical mass in the diffusion of technologies with network externality may help to explain these phenomena.

Keywords: Open Source, Diffusion, Network Externality

JEL Classification: L86, O31

Suggested Citation

Bonaccorsi, Andrea and Rossi Lamastra, Cristina, Why Open Source Software Can Succeed (2002). LEM Working Paper No. 2002/15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=348301 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.348301

Andrea Bonaccorsi

Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Pisa - Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM) ( email )

Piazza Martiri della Liberta, 33
Pisa, I-56127
Italy
+39 05 088 3323 (Phone)
+39 05 088 3344 (Fax)

Cristina Rossi Lamastra (Contact Author)

Politecnico di Milano ( email )

Piazza Leonardo da Vinci
Milan, Milano 20100
Italy
+390223993972 (Phone)
+390223992710 (Fax)

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