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Of Hackers and Hairdressers: Modularity and the Organizational Economics of Open-source Collaboration

Richard Langlois () and Giampaolo Garzarelli ()

Industry and Innovation, 2008, vol. 15, issue 2, 125-143

Abstract: Using the idea of modularity, we study the general phenomenon of open-source collaboration, which includes such things as collective invention and open science in addition to open-source software production. We argue that open-source collaboration coordinates the division of labor through the exchange of effort rather than of products: suppliers of effort self-identify in the same way as suppliers of products in a market rather than accepting assignments like employees in a firm. We suggest that open-source software (and other) projects are neither bazaars nor cathedrals, but hybrids manifesting both voluntary production and conscious planning.

Keywords: Innovation; integrality; intellectual division of labor; modularity; open-source software; theory of the firm (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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