Software Development in Embedded Linux — Informal Collaboration of Competing Firms

  • Joachim Henkel
Conference paper

Key words

open source software embedded Linux software development 


The “open source development process” has received considerable attention. It means that loosely co-ordinated, geographically dispersed developers collaborate. While in prototypical open source projects developers are unpaid volunteers, the involvement of commercial firms has recently increased enormously. There are some areas of open source software where indeed most contributions come from commercial firms, and even from firms which consider the development of open source software their core business. It is particularly surprising that these firms take part in the open source development process, as it implies informal collaboration with competitors and the revealing of own developments. The present paper analyzes this phenomenon. It presents an empirical analysis of the embedded Linux industry, based on in-depth interviews with embedded Linux companies and industry experts. It is found that firms in this industry do indeed reveal a considerable share of their developments, and benefit in turn from what their competitors make public.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Henkel
    • 1
  1. 1.Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenDeutschland

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