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The Role of Participation Architecture in Growing Sponsored Open Source Communities

Joel West and Siobhan O'mahony

Industry and Innovation, 2008, vol. 15, issue 2, 145-168

Abstract: Most research on open source software communities has focused on those that are community founded. More recently, firms have founded their own open source communities. How do sponsored open source communities differ from their autonomous counterparts? With comparative examination of 12 open source projects initiated by corporate sponsors, we identify three design parameters that together help form a participation architecture—the opportunity structure extended to potential external contributors. In exploring sponsors' community design decisions, we found that sponsored open source projects were more likely to offer transparency than they were accessibility and that this had implications for their communities' growth. We contribute theoretical constructs that offer a common basis of comparison for the future study of open source projects and illustrate how the tension between control and growth affects open source community design and creation.

Keywords: Open source; governance; innovation communities; architecture; participation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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