Exposing Differences of Governance Approaches in Single and Multi Vendor Open Source Software Development

  • Mario Schaarschmidt
  • Matthias Bertram
  • Harald F. O. von Kortzfleisch
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 366)


Research confirms that commercial OSS exists in many different ways according to its revenue model, type of license, development style, number of participating firms, number of participating volunteers or governance mode. In order to differentiate between an increasing variety of commercialization approaches, one may distinguish between projects with one dominating company, so called single vendor projects and those where more than one company is active, so called multi vendor projects. Furthermore, in order to structure different approaches, a project’s history is equally of importance in terms of whether a project was initiated by a firm or a community. In this paper, we therefore analyze and compare single and multi vendor as well as firm initiated and community initiated OSS projects with regard to technical contribution of voluntary and paid project members. Based on a dataset build upon Eclipse projects we expose, that the number of paid members is significantly higher in firm initiated and multi vendor projects.


Open Source Software Single Vendor Projects Multi Vendor Projects Communities Governance 


  1. Alexy, O.: Free Revealing. How Firms Can Profit From Being Open. Gabler, Wiesbaden (2009)Google Scholar
  2. Arafat, O., Riehle, D.: The Commit Size Distribution of Open Source Software. In: Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaiian International Conference on System Science (HICSS-42) (2009) Google Scholar
  3. Bitzer, J., Schrettl, W., Schröder, P.J.H.: Intrinsic Motivation in Open Source Software Development. Journal of Comparative Economics 35, 160–169 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bitzer, J., Geishecker, I.: Who Contributes Voluntarily to OSS? An Investigation Among German IT Employees. Research Policy 39, 165–172 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonaccorsi, A., Giannangeli, S., Rossi, C.: Entry Strategies Under Competing Standards: Hybrid Business Models in the Open Source Software Industry. Management Science 52(7), 1085–1098 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dahlander, L.: Penguin in a New Suit: A Tale of How De Novo Entrants Emerged to Harness Free and Open Source Software Communities. Industrial and Corporate Change 16(5), 913–943 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dahlander, L., Magnusson, M.G.: Relationships Between Open Source Software Companies and Communities: Observations From Nordic Firms. Research Policy 34(4), 481–493 (2005)Google Scholar
  8. Dahlander, L., Magnusson, M.G.: How Do Make Firms Make Use of Open Source Communities? Long Range Planning 41, 629–649 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dahlander, L., Wallin, M.: A Man on the Inside: Unlocking Communities as Complementary Assets. Research Policy 35, 1243–1259 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De Laat, P.B.: Governance of Open Source Software: State of the Art. Journal of Management and Governance 11(2), 165–177 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fitzgerald, B.: The Transformation of Open Source Software. MIS Quarterly 30(3), 587–598 (2006)Google Scholar
  12. Fosfuri, A., Giarratana, M., Luzzi, A.: The Penguin Has Entered the Building: The Commercialization of Open Source Software Products. Organization Science 19(2), 292–305 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Franck, E., Jungwirth, C.: Reconciling Rent-Seekers and Donators - The Governance Structure of Open Source. Journal of Management and Governance 7(4), 401–421 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jago, A.G.: Leadership: Perspectives in Theory and Research. Management Science 28(3), 315–336 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lerner, J., Tirole, J.: Some Simple Economics of Open Source. Journal of Industrial Economics 50(2), 197–234 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. O’Mahony, S.: The Governance of Open Source Initiatives: What Does It Mean to Be Community Managed? Journal of Management and Governance 11(2), 139–150 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Raymond, E.S.: The Cathedral and the Bazaar (1999), (last access: 10/21/2010)
  18. Riehle, D.: The Commercial Open Source Business Model. In: Proceedings of the 15th American Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), San Francisco, CA (August 6-8, 2009) Google Scholar
  19. Riehle, D.: The Single Vendor Commercial Open Source Business Model. Information Systems and e-Business Management (2011) (forthcoming) Google Scholar
  20. Schaarschmidt, M., Von Kortzfleisch, H.: Divide et Impera! The Role of Firms in Large Open Source Software Consortia. In: Proceedings of the 15th American Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), San Francisco, CA (August 6-8, 2009)Google Scholar
  21. Schaarschmidt, M., Von Kortzfleisch, H.: The Business of Venture Capital in Open Source Software. Working Paper, presented at 10th EURAM Conference, Rome, Italy (May 19-22, 2010)Google Scholar
  22. Scozzi, B., Crowston, K., Eseryel, Y., Li, Q.: Shared Mental Models Among Open Source Software Developers. In: Proceedings of the 41st Hawaii International Conference on System Science, HICSS-41 (2008)Google Scholar
  23. Shah, S.: Motivation, Governance, and the Viability of Hybrid Forms in Open Source Development. Management Science 52(7), 1000–1014 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Stewart, K.J., Gosain, S.: The Impact of Ideology on Effectiveness in Open Source Software Teams. MIS Quarterly 30(2), 291–314 (2006)Google Scholar
  25. Wagstrom, P.A.: Vertical Interaction in Open Source Software Engineering Communities, PhD Thesis, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (2009)Google Scholar
  26. Watson, R.T., Boudreau, M.-C., York, P.T., Greiner, M., Wynn, D.: The Business of Open Source. Communications of the ACM 51(4), 41–46 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. West, J.: How Open is Open Enough? Melding Proprietary and Open Source Platform Strategies. Research Policy 32, 1259–1285 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. West, J., O’Mahony, S.: The Role of Participation Architecture in Growing Sponsored Open Source Communities. Industry and Innovation 15(2), 145–168 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Schaarschmidt
  • Matthias Bertram
  • Harald F. O. von Kortzfleisch

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations