Why Do Developers and Firms Contribute to the Production of Open Source Software?

31 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2004  

Jens Prufer

Tilburg University - CentER; Tilburg University - Department of Economics; Tilburg University - Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Date Written: January 3, 2006

Abstract

This article explains why both software developers and firms contribute to the production of Open Source Software (OSS). Existing economic theories either focus on the supply side (developers) or the demand side (firms) of OSS development. This paper is the first to explain both sides in one integrated model by understanding the OSS production process as an application contest to the network of prominent developers. Programmers contribute because they aim for reputation and high salaries. Firms finance the process, since they receive inside information on highly talented developers not yet known on the regular job market.

Keywords: Open Source Software, Contest, Asymmetric Auctions, Networks, Career Concerns

JEL Classification: D82, L14, L86

Suggested Citation

Prufer, Jens, Why Do Developers and Firms Contribute to the Production of Open Source Software? (January 3, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=590581 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.590581

Jens Prufer (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - CentER ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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