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)


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.


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



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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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