Diffusion Pattern of Linux: An Assessment on Major Technology Dimensions

First Monday, Vol. 10, No. 8, August 2005

20 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2005

See all articles by Nir Kshetri

Nir Kshetri

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Bryan School of Business & Economics

Abstract

This paper attempts to gain an understanding of the diffusion dynamics of Linux by assessing it on Rogers' technology dimensions - relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, observability, and trialability. The analysis makes clear that Linux possesses greater relative advantage than its proprietary competitors because of its low cost, lower susceptibility to bugs and crash, resilience to obsolescence, ability to run on older and used machines and higher perceived security. Linux is facing compatibility problems with applications, hardware and other corporate resources; suppliers' and customers' technologies; and skills of current and potential employees. Extreme configurability and user unfriendly interface; limited support and staff knowledge and potential hazard of forking into competing versions have been some major sources of Linux's complexity. Linux seems to have a reasonably good performance on observability and trialability dimensions. The paper concludes by offering some suggestions as to how measures can be taken at various levels - Linux communities, software developers, promoters of OSS, national governments and international agencies, to accelerate its diffusion.

Keywords: Open source software, innovation, diffusion

JEL Classification: O33

Suggested Citation

Kshetri, Nir, Diffusion Pattern of Linux: An Assessment on Major Technology Dimensions. First Monday, Vol. 10, No. 8, August 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=846446

Nir Kshetri (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Bryan School of Business & Economics ( email )

401 Bryan Building
Greensboro, NC 27402-6179
United States
336-334-4530 (Phone)
336-334-4141 (Fax)

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