[Air-l] New working papers on opensource.mit.edu : 9 Papers + 1 Report

Karim R. Lakhani lakhani at MIT.EDU
Mon Aug 18 19:52:46 PDT 2003

Hi All,

Hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of summer (blackouts and all !)
Well we have a bumper summer harvest of papers for our site.  The 
Italians have been quite productive!!!.  Many thanks to the authors for 
submitting the papers and also patience with my tardiness.

As always, please send comments on papers to the authors directly or 
discuss them on our discuss list 

thanks all!!


Paper 1
Aigrain, Philippe
The Individual and the Collective in Open Information Communities
This paper is the written version of an invited talk at the 16th Bled 
Electronic Conference, Slovenija, June 2003. The text focuses on 2 
critical issues for open information communities: how lowering 
transactions costs linked to becoming an active contributor is an 
essential factor for their success; and how free (as in freedom) 
licenses enable new forms of relationships between the individual and 
the collective. I bring some evidence that this permits to overcome some 
of the traditional limitations of commons in the physical world. The 
analysis uses as examples the free Wiki-based encyclopedia Wikipedia and 
the peer-reviewed free encyclopedia Nupedia, the Slashdot technical news 
community (commercial), and Web sites using the SPIP free co-operative 
publishing software.

Paper 2
Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Cristina Rossi
Licensing schemes in the production and distribution of Open Source 
software. An empirical investigation
Contrary to what most people assume, Open source doesn't just mean 
access to the source code. A software is considered Open Source if and 
only if its distribution terms [i.e. the license] comply with the set of 
criteria defined by the Open Source Definition (OSD). That is, to say 
that a code is Open Source is to say that it is subject to a member of a 
particular category of licenses (McGowan, 2000). As many others in the 
Open Source field, the research on Open Source licenses suffers from 
lack of empirical data. Although in the literature there are empirical 
studies that explore the relationships between license choice and 
project characteristics (Lerner and Tirole, 2002a), at present we are 
not aware of surveys that collect data on licensors, that is on firms 
producing and distributing software on an Open Source basis. This study 
addresses his shortcoming. We examine the license choice of the firms 
that supply Open Source products and services and relate it to their 
structural characteristics, business models and attitudes towards the 
movement and its community. Between September 2002 and March 2003 we 
conducted a survey on Italian firms that do business with Open Source 
software. We asked them to indicate the Open Source licenses with which 
they work, for the distribution of their software as well as the 
production process. We made reference to the distinction between 
copyleft and non-copyleft distribution schemes. Using these data, this 
paper aims at testing several theoretical hypotheses advanced by the 
literature on Open Source licenses. In order to make the discussion more 
lively, for each issue we present the hypothesis and our findings in 

Paper 3:
Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Cristina Rossi
Altruistic individuals, selfish firms? The structure of motivation in 
Open Source software
A growing body of economic literature is addressing the incentives of 
the individuals that take part to the Open Source movement. However, 
empirical analyses focus on individual developers and neglect firms that 
do business with Open Source software (OSS). During 2002, we conducted a 
large-scale survey on 146 Italian firms supplying Open Source solutions 
in Italy. In this paper our data on firms’ motivations are compared with 
data collected by the surveys made on individual programmers. We aim at 
analysing the role played by different classes of motivations (social, 
economic and technological) in determining the involvement of different 
groups of agents in Open Source

Paper 4:
Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Cristina Rossi
Contributing to the common pool resources in Open Source software. A 
comparison between individuals and firms
This paper studies the contributions to Open Source projects of software 
firms. Our goal is to analyse whether they follow the same regularities 
that characterize the behaviour of individual programmers. An exhaustive 
empirical analysis is carried out using data on project membership, 
project coordination and contribution efforts of 146 Italian firms that 
do business with Open Source software. We follow a meta-analytic 
approach comparing our findings with the results of the surveys 
conducted on Free Software programmers. Moreover, the availability of 
the data gathered by Hertel et al. (2003) on 141 developers of the Linux 
kernel will allow direct comparisons between the two sets.

Paper 5
Camp, Jean L
Code, Coding and Coded Perspectives
Building on computer science I consider code (as opposed to the Web, an 
instantiation of code) as a new technology of communication. Using the 
historical and sociological analyses of others, which have examined the 
results of print on perspectives and society, I offer four scenarios for 
the results of code. The four scenarios focus on the results of code on 
quantitative thought: the divergence of scientific perspective with 
popular reasoning resulting in reduced innovation; a broad-based popular 
explosion in innovation expanding the basis of reasoning; cypto-anarchy 
with those empowered by science corrupted with the power; and a loss of 
certainty of information with a return to tribalism. The last suggests a 
new era of ignorance, a moment in modern Dark Ages -- in that an excess 
of the light of information causes blindness as effectively as its 
absence. The openness of code is a determinant in the resulting social 

Paper 6
Syme, Serena & L. Jean Camp
The Governance of Code: Open Land vs. UCITA Land
Imagine two network societies. In one society, the transfer of 
information and use of software is governed by the various licenses used 
to protect open code today. For convenience, we dub this society "Open 
Land". The other society recently passed a law identical to the new 
Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act ("UCITA", passed in two 
U.S. states and pending in several others) to control its information 
and computer software. We will call this society "UCITA Land". This 
paper looks at the ways in which Open Land and UCITA Land differ. 
Although it might initially seem that a licensing framework is trivial 
in terms of the actual conduct of society, we posit that such frameworks 
in many ways define the mode of governance of network society. The 
establishment of a market involves the development of a bundle of rights 
that both create property and define the rules under which 
property-based transactions might occur. In Open Land and UCITA Land, 
fundamentally different approaches to the establishment of those rights 
lead to vastly different societies.

Paper 7
Shaikh, Maha & Tony Cornford
Version Management Tools: CVS to BK in the Linux Kernel
Version management tools might be seen as a prerequisite for open source 
development today as projects become too large to be managed by 
maintainers alone. Yet the OS process depends on fluid coordination and 
collaboration, with the underlying qualities of this process based on 
firm trust and respect for fellow developers. This paper is a study of 
how debate over version tools reflects governance and decision making in 
an OS community. The paper is based on a study of the Linux kernel 
community as it first saw a partial acceptance of the CVS tool, and then 
later adopted BK. The paper explains the adoption processes in relation 
to governance concerns, licence issue, and questions of technical 

Paper 8
Long, Anthony
Title: How Firm Initiation and Control of Projects Affects Open-Source 
	After witnessing the success of open-source projects such as Linux and 
Apache, firms have sought to appropriate the open-source development 
model and integrate it into their own projects. Firms face a dilemma, 
however, since their initiation and control of open-source projects 
affects the traditional open-source development model in significant 
ways. Once a firm takes the role of starting and guiding an open-source 
project, the open-source development model that attracted the firm is 
forever altered. This paper examines the effects commercial firms have 
on the open-source development model when they initiate and control 
open-source projects.

Paper 9
Välimäki, Mikko
Dual Licensing in Open Source Software Industry
This paper analyses how several open source companies use dual 
licensing: both open source and proprietary licenses for one product. 
Three case studies based on the experiences of companies Sleepycat 
Software Inc., MySQL AB, and TrollTech AS illustrate the issue. 
Especially the legal and economic requirements of dual licensing are 
Report 1
Bonaccorsi, Andrea, Cristina Rossi & Alessandro Scateni
An analysis of Open Source production in Italy
Final report of a survey on Italian firms that do business with Open 
Source software

Karim R. Lakhani
MIT Sloan School of Management
The Boston Consulting Group, Strategy Practice Initiative
e-mail: karim.lakhani at sloan.mit.edu | lakhani.karim at bcg.com
voice:  617-851-1224
fax:    617-344-0403
http://opensource.mit.edu | http://freesoftware.mit.edu

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