Thursday, January 3, 2013

Open Source Software Developer Networks

Hahn, Moon and Zhang (2010) investigate the impact of new open source software (OSS) success based on the developers past relationships with developers on previous projects. OSS has many high profile cases that have performed extraordinarily well, such as Apache, Linux, OpenOffice, and PHP. On the other hand, the large majority of OSS projects fail due to the inability to attract a large number of developers to contribute to the project. In this study Hahn, Moon and Zhang (2010) focus on OSS project teams forming and more specifically on the joining behaviors of developers. Through an empirical test, they discovered that the previous relationships with other developers do increase the probability that an OSS project will attract more developers. Additionally, the study found that a prior developer’s tie with a project initiator increases the probability that a developer will join a project started by a past collaborator. Therefore, past ties with developers increases the probability of the OSS project success. Evidence of their study follows the critical mass theory and resource dependence theory. Participants will join a project only if it is perceived value is high and some of the perceived value comes from the developers who create the software. Additionally, if a project fails to attract developers in the early stages it will also fail to attract developers in subsequent development stages.

Hahn, J., Moon, J.Y., & Zhang, C. (2010). Emergence of new project teams from open source software developer networks: Impact of prior collaboration ties. Information Systems Research, 19(3), 369-405.

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