Advertisement

Managing Commercial Conflicts of Interest in Open Source Foundations

  • Florian Weikert
  • Dirk Riehle
  • Ann BarcombEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 370)

Abstract

When companies opt to open source their software, they may choose to offer the project to an open source foundation. Donating the software to an open source foundation offers a number of advantages, such as access to the foundation’s existing tools and project management. However, in donating the software, the company relinquishes control of the software and grants other foundation members—including competitors—the same rights to the software. Using a multiple-case study research approach, this paper examines how foundations manage conflicts of interest in the open sourcing donation scenario. We find that foundations primarily use a set of well-defined mechanisms to prevent such conflicts from arising, and that the use of these mechanisms can depend on the foundation type.

Keywords

Open source foundations Sponsored open source Commercial open source Open source software 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our interview partners for sharing their time and expertise with us: Mark Hinkle, Stefano Maffulli and the anonymous member of the Eclipse Foundation.

References

  1. 1.
    Ayala, C.P., Cruzes, D.S., Hauge, O., Conradi, R.: Five facts on the adoption of open source software. Softw. IEEE 28(2), 95–99 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bonaccorsi, A., Rossi, C.: Contributing to the common pool resources in open source software. a comparison between individuals and firms. Technical reports, Working Paper, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies Institute for Informatics and Telematics (August 2003)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Butler, S., et al.: On company contributions to community open source software projects. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (2019)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cavaye, A.L.: Case study research: a multi-faceted research approach for IS. Inf. Syst. J. 6(3), 227–242 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Charmaz, K.: Grounded theory as an emergent method. In: Leavy, P., Nagy Hasse-Biber, S. (eds.) Handbook of Emergent Methods, chap. 7, pp. 81–110. Gilford Press, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Corbin, J.M., Strauss, A.L.: Grounded theory research: procedures, canons, and evaluative criteria. Qual. Sociol. 13(1), 3–21 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dahlander, L., Magnusson, M.G.: Relationships between open source software companies and communities: observations from Nordic firms. Res. Policy 34(4), 481–493 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Eisenhardt, K.M.: Building theories from case study research. Acad. Manag. Rev. 14(4), 532–550 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Elliott, M.S., Scacchi, W.: Communicating and mitigating conflict in Open Source software development projects. Projects & Profits (2002)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Elliott, M.S., Scacchi, W.: Free software development: cooperation and conflict in a virtual organizational culture. In: Koch, S. (ed.) Free/Open Source Software Development, pp. 152–173. Idea Group Publishing (2004)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fernández, W.D.: The grounded theory method and case study data in IS research: issues and design. In: Information Systems Foundations: Constructing and Criticising Workshop at The Australian National University, pp. 43–59 (July 2004)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fitzgerald, B.: The transformation of open source software. MIS Q. 30(3), 587–598 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Freeman, S., Siltala, J.: Freedom and profit: how suits and hackers are working it out on the desktop (2004), working paper presented in 4/EASST Joint Meeting, Paris 26/08/04Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gallivan, M.J.: Striking a balance between trust and control in a virtual organization: a content analysis of open source software case studies. Inf. Syst. J. 11(4), 277–304 (2001)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Germonprez, M., Allen, J.P., Warner, B., Hill, J., McClements, G.: Open source communities of competitors. Interactions 20(6), 54–59 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Germonprez, M., Kendall, J.E., Kendall, K.E., Mathiassen, L., Young, B., Warner, B.: A theory of responsive design: a field study of corporate engagement with open source communities. Inf. Syst. Res. 28(1), 64–83 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Germonprez, M., Link, G.J., Lumbard, K., Goggins, S.: Eight observations and 24 research questions about open source projects: Illuminating new realities. In: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 2(CSCW), 57 (2018)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Goetz, J., LeCompte, D.: Ethnography and Qualitative Design in Educational Research. Academic Press, Cambridge (1984)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    González-Barahona, J.M., Izquierdo-Cortazar, D., Maffulli, S., Robles, G.: Understanding how companies interact with free software communities. IEEE Softw. 30(5), 38–45 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    González-Barahona, J.M., Robles, G.: Trends in Free, Libre, Open Source Software Communities: From Volunteers to Companies/Aktuelle Trends in Free-, Libre-, und Open-Source-Software-. Information Technology (2013)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Guba, E.G.: Criteria for assessing the trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries. Educ. Technol. Res. Dev. 29(2), 75–91 (1981)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hallberg, L.: Some thoughts about the literature review in grounded theory studies. Int. J. Qual. Stud. Health Well-being 5, PMC2915820 (2010)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hunter, P., Walli, S.: The rise and evolution of the open source software foundation. Int. Free Open Source Softw. Law Rev. 5(1), 31–42 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Jensen, C., Scacchi, W.: Collaboration, leadership, control, and conflict negotiation and the Netbeans.org open source software development community. In: Proceedings of the 38th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2005)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Krishnamurthy, S.: An analysis of open source business models. In: Feller, J., Fitzgerald, B., Hissam, S.A., Lakhani, K.R. (eds.) Making Sense of the Bazaar: Perspectives on Open Source and Free Software, vol. 54, pp. 267–278. The MIT Press, Cambridge (2003)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Lattemann, C., Stieglitz, S.: Framework for governance in open source communities. In: Proceedings of the 38th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2005)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    O’Mahony, S.: Guarding the commons: how community managed software projects protect their work. Res. Policy 32(7), 1179–1198 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    O’Mahony, S.: Nonprofit foundations and their role in community-firm software collaboration. In: Feller, J., Fitzgerald, B., Hissam, S.A., Lakhani, K.R. (eds.) Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software, pp. 393–413. The MIT Press, Cambridge (2005)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    O’Mahony, S., Bechky, B.A.: Boundary organizations: enabling collaboration among unexpected allies. Adm. Sci. Q. 53(3), 422–459 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    O’Mahony, S., West, J.: What makes a project open source? migrating from organic to synthetic communities. Academy of Management conference, Technology and Innovation Management division, Honolulu, August 2005, p. 39 (2005)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pearce, J.: 9.9 million lines of code and still moving fast - Facebook open source in 2014 (2014). https://code.facebook.com/posts/292625127566143/9-9-million-lines-of-code-and-still-moving-fast-facebook-open-source-in-2014/
  32. 32.
    Prattico, L.: Governance of Open Source Software Foundations: Who Holds the Power? Technology Innovation Management Review (2012)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Riehle, D.: The economic motivation of open source software: stakeholder perspectives. Computer 40(4), 25–32 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Riehle, D.: The commercial open source business model. In: Proceedings of the Fifteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems. vol. AMCIS 2009, pp. 1–10 (2009)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Riehle, D.: The economic case for open source foundations. Computer 43(1), 86–90 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Riehle, D.: The single-vendor commercial open course business model. Inf. Syst. E-Bus. Manag. 10(1), 5–17 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Riehle, D., Berschneider, S.: A model of open source developer foundations. In: The 8th International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2012), pp. 7–28. Springer (2012)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Riehle, D., Harutyunyan, N.: License Clearance in Software Product Governance, chap. 5, pp. 83–96. NII Shonan, Tokyo, Japan (2017)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Rossi, C., Bonaccorsi, A.: Why profit-oriented companies enter the OS field?: intrinsic vs. extrinsic incentives. In: ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes. vol. 30, pp. 1–5. ACM (2005)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Schaarschmidt, M., Stol, K.J.: Company soldiers and gone-natives: role conflict and career ambition among firm-employed open source developers. In: Thirty ninth International Conference on Information Systems. Association for Information Systems (AIS) (2018)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Schaarschmidt, M., Walsh, G., von Kortzfleisch, H.F.: How do firms influence open source software communities? a framework and empirical analysis of different governance modes. Inf. Organ. 25(2), 99–114 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Siltala, J., Freeman, S., Miettinen, R.: Exploring the tensions between volunteers and firms in hybrid projects (2007), center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research. (Working Paper 36)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Skerrett, I.: Best practices in multi-vendor open source communities. Open Source Business Resource (2011)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Stewart, K.J., Gosain, S.: The impact of ideology on effectiveness in open source software development teams. MIS Q. 30(2), 291–314 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Teixeira, J.: Understanding coopetition in the open-source arena: the cases of WebKit and OpenStack. In: Proceedings of The International Symposium on Open Collaboration, p. 39. ACM (2014)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Van Wendel de Joode, R.: Managing conflicts in open source communities. Electron. Markets 14, 104–113 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Wagstrom, P., Herbsleb, J., Kraut, R., Mockus, A.: The impact of commercial organizations on volunteer participation in an online community. In: 2010 Academy of Management Meeting. Montreal, Canada (2010)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Weikert, F.: How Open Source Foundations Handle Conflicting Interests in Company-Started Projects. Master’s thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (2014)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Weiss, M.: Control and diversity in company-led open source projects. Open Source Business Resource (2011)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Wen, W., Ceccagnoli, M., Forman, C.: Opening up intellectual property strategy: implications for open source software entry by start-up firms. Manag. Sci. 62(9), 2668–2691 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    West, J., O’Mahony, S.: Contrasting community building in sponsored and community founded open source projects. In: Proceedings of the 38th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2005)Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    West, J., O’Mahony, S.: The role of participation architecture in growing sponsored open source communities. Ind. & Innov. 15(2), 145–168 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Xie, Z.: Open Source Software Foundations. Open Source Business Resource (2008)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Yin, R.K.: Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 5th edn. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks (2013)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

Personalised recommendations