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The paradox of Open Source Software production: competition and collaboration

The paradox of Open Source Software production: competition and collaboration

Tonellato, Marco, Quintane, Eric, Conaldi, Guido and Lomi, Alessandro (2012) The paradox of Open Source Software production: competition and collaboration. In: Sunbelt XXXII International Network for Social Network Analysis Annual Conference, 12-18 Mar 2012, Redondo Beach, CA, USA. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Successful production of Open Source Software depends crucially on the commitment of a set of developers with no evident incentive to contribute to a collective project. The prevalent explanation of this apparent paradox of participation holds that visibility and status act as the main motivating factors in the absence of formal incentive systems. According to this view, developers actively search for problems whose resolution grants status and recognition. While the logic of status competition may help explaining specific organizational features of F/OSS projects, it fails to account for the engagement in more mundane, maintenance-based tasks, which have been shown to be essential to the survival of F/OSS projects. Using a Relational Event Model framework adapted to the analysis of two-mode networks, we examine this issue by analyzing the complete set of relational events generated by the matching between 135 software developers and 719 software problems (or “bugs”) observed during the an entire release cycle of the F/OSS “Epiphany.” We distinguish between two kinds of problem-solving activities: high-effort activities - involving actions leading to the direct production or modification of software code - and low-effort activities – or actions involving the maintenance activities that do not require production of code. Contrary to the status competition hypothesis, we find that bugs’ severity level has limited influence on problem solving activities. We also find evidence that low-effort activities are more conducive to collaboration and coordination than high-effort activities. We discuss the implications of these results for the organization of decentralized production activities.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: [1] Presented by Marco Tonellato.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Relational Event Models, Temporal Dependence, Free/Open Source Software
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Centre for Business Network Analysis
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:20
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/7969

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