The following references were found useful or interesting by the contributors and editors of this site. Where possible, links have been provided and checked as of 8/23/2005.
Greg Aharonian, Deconstructing Software Copyright, 30 Years of Bad Logic (2001)
Anderson, Ross, Security in Open Versus Closed Systems - The Dance of Boltzmann, Coase and Moore (2002)
Argues that from a security perspective, open source software may help attackers and defenders equally.
Arief, Budi; Gacek, Cristina; Lawrie, Tony, Software Architectures and Open Source Software (2001)
Introduces accepted notions of software architectures (Section 2), discusses some of the known issues in OSS (Section 3), resulting in a set of aspects the authors consider to be relevant for future research (Section 4).
Baldwin, Carliss; Clark Kim, The Architecture of Cooperation: How Code Architecture Mitigates Free Riding in the Open Source Development Model (June 1, 2003)
Argues that the architecture of a codebase is a critical factor that lies at the heart of the open source development process.
Bessen, James, Open Source Software: Free Provision of a Complex Public Good (August 2004)
Bitzer, Jurgen, Wolfram Schrettl & Philipp J.H. Schroder, Intrinsic Motivation in Open Source Software Development (2004)
"OSS development is viewed as the private provision of a public good. A dynamic private-provision-of-public-goods model to reflect key aspects of the OSS phenomenon. The model is driven by intrinsic motives of OSS programmers, play value or homo ludens payoff, and gift culture benefits. Such intrinsic motives feature extensively in the wider OSS literature and contribute new insights to the economic analysis."
Bonaccorsi, Andrea; Rossi, Cristina, Licensing schemes in the production and distribution of Open Source software. An empirical investigation (2003)
"We examine the license choice of the firms that supply Open Source products and services and relate it to their structural characteristics, business models and attitudes towards the movement and its community. Between September 2002 and March 2003 we conducted a survey on Italian firms that do business with Open Source software. We asked them to indicate the Open Source licenses with which they work, for the distribution of their software as well as the production process."
Bonaccorsi, Andrea; Rossi, Cristina, Contributing to the common pool resources in Open Source software. A comparison between individuals and firms (2003)
Suggests why individuals/firms would choose OSS over proprietary software and vice versa.
Certain IP doctrines may be better understood when viewed through the lens of property-based theories of the "firm;" certain doctrines, such as works made for hire, can be adjusted in light of those theories.
Chander, Anupam, The Romance of the Public Domain, 92 Calif. L. Rev. 1331 (2004)
Chiao, Benjamin Hak-Fung, An Economic Theory of Free and Open Source Software: A Tour from Lighthouse to Chinese-Style Socialism (revised version) (December 15, 2003)
"The GNU Manifesto suggest striking similarities between this license and communism. The resulting economic properties, however, are similar to those of Chinese-style socialism: both resulted from an increased separation of legal and economic ownership."
Ciffolilli, Andrea, The economics of open source hijacking and declining quality of digital information resources: a case for copyleft (April 29, 2004)
"In the case of digital information resources, apart from conventional inefficiencies, copyright shows an extra vice since it might be used perversely as a tool to hijack and privatise collectively provided open source and open content knowledge assemblages. Whilst the impact of hijacking on open source software development may be uncertain or uneven, some risks are clear in the case of open content works. Furthermore, it calls for a wider use of novel institutional remedies such as copyleft and Creative Commons licensing, built upon the paradigm of copyright customisation."
Clarke, Roger, Open Source Software and Open Content as Models for eBusiness (May 7, 2004)
Discusses different business models for open source.
Coase, Ronald, The Nature of the Firm (1937)
Coleman, Biella & Benjamin Mako Hill, How Free Become Open and Everything Else Under the Sun (2004)
This essay argues that Free Software exists as a politically agnostic field of practice--built on and through a broadly defined philosophy. It analyzes the way that this philosophy is well suited for the spread of FOSS technologies and its translation into the terms of radically different, even oppositional, social and political movements.
Comino, Stefano; Manenti, Fabio M., Open Source vs Closed Source Software: Public Policies in the Software Market (June 2003)
Analyzes the impact of public policies supporting OSS, focusing on the amount of information users have.
Crowston, Kevin; Annabi, Hala; Howison, James, Defining Open Source Software Project Success (2003)
"In this paper, we identify a range of measures that can be used to assess the success of open source software (OSS) projects."
Dafermos, George, Management and Virtual Decentralized Networks: The Linux Project (2001)
This paper examines whether geographically dispersed knowledge workers can virtually collaborate for a project under no central planning.
Dahlander, Linus, Appropriating the commons: firms in open source software (April 13, 2004)
"The objective of this paper is to explore how firms appropriate returns from innovations that are created outside the boundaries of firms and in the public domain using the case of OSS. The cases illustrate how firms try a variety of approaches to appropriate adequate returns and that selling services seem to be the dominant trend. Firm also balance the relative inefficiency of traditional means of intellectual property right such as patents by putting greater emphasis on first mover advantages and creating network externalities."
Dibona, Chris; Stone, Mark; Ockman,Sam; eds., Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, ISBN: 1565925823 (1st Edition, January 1999)
Dinh-Trong, T.; Bieman, J.M., Open source software development: a case study of FreeBSD, Proceedings. 10th International Symposium on Software Metrics (2003)
Seems to offer a level-headed, disinterested look at OSS and the battle over whether to limit or eliminate software patents. The authors find that USPTO reforms to improve its software patent-review process should be tried before abolishing software patents. They come from the point of view that "open source and proprietary software have coexisted for over two decades-and each has something to offer software users." The authors also provide a helpful "open source primer," and show that software patent issues are different for the US and the EU.
FDIC, Risk Management of Free and Open Source Software (last updated May 26, 2005)
Discusses risk management issues in the adoption of open source software for financial institutions. Addresses customization, architecture, maturity, forking, systems integration & support, and total cost of ownership. Also touches on some legal issues.
Ferris, Paul, The Age of Corporate Open Source Enlightenment, 1 ACM Queue, Issue 5 34 (July/August 2003)
A business manager's guide to open source.
Fitzgerald, B.; Agerfalk, P.J.;, The Mysteries of Open Source Software, Proceedings of the 38th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (2005)
Fitzgerald, Brian; Graham, Bassett, eds., Legal Issues Relating to Free and Open Source Software
This is the publication that follows the 'Legal Issues Relating to Free and Open Source Software Conference' that was held in Brisbane, Australia on 3 July 2002.
Fitzgerald, Brian; Kenny,Tony, Open Source Software can Improve the Health of the Bank Balance - The Beaumont Hospital Experience (2003)
Franz, Michael, Dynamic Linking of Software Components, IEEE Computer, (March 1997)
Technical overview of dynamic linking.
Free Software Foundation, Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU GPL (last modified March 29, 2005)
Gacek, Cristina; Lawrie, Tony; Arief, Budi, The many meanings of Open Source (January/February 2004)
The term Open Source is widely applied to describe some software development methodologies. This paper does not provide a judgment on the open source approach, but exposes the fact that simply stating that a project is open source does not provide a precise description of the approach used to support the project. By taking a multidisciplinary point of view, we propose a collection of characteristics that are common, as well as some that vary among open source projects.
Forrester Research Study
Giuri, Paola, Matteo Ploner, Francesco Rullani & Salvatore Torrisi, Skills and Openness of OSS Projects: implications for performance (October 2004)
Open source software projects' activity and the characteristics of different categories of contributors. An econometric analysis to estimate the contribution of skills and openness to projects' survival and activity.
Gorling, Stefan, A Critical Approach to Open Source Software (June 2003)
Criticizes serveral aspects of OSS construction; argues that open source projects can be failures, is an old model, is not necessarily an efficient way to develop software.
Gruber, Marc & Joachim Henkel, New ventures based on open innovation - an empirical analysis of star-up firms in embedded Linux (July 2004)
"The purpose of this paper is to explore how three key challenges of venture management - the liabilities of newness and smallness of start-ups and market entry barriers - affect new ventures in OSS. Our findings have interesting implications for the emerging theory on e-entrepreneurship, and for entrepreneurs considering to exploit business opportunities in OSS, and more generally business opportunities based on open innovations."
Hahn, Robert William, ed., Government Policy Towards Open Source Software, ISBN: 0815733933 (December 2002)
Can open source software—software that is usually available without charge and that individuals are free to modify—survive against the fierce competition of proprietary software, such as Microsoft Windows? Should the government intervene on its behalf? This book addresses a host of issues raised by the rapid growth of open source software, including government subsidies for research and development, government procurement policy, and patent and copyright policy.
Hamm, Steve, Linux, Inc., Business Week, (January 31, 2005)
Hawkins, Richard, The Economics of Free Software for a Competitive Firm (November 12, 2002)
Firms will consume the software available at the lowest cost, and will participate in the production of commodity components of their product line as a method of reducing costs...
Henkel, Joachim, Patterns of Free Revealing? Balancing Code Sharing and Protection in Commercial Open Source Development (August 2004)
Commercial firms increasingly contribute to the development of open source software (OSS). However, a conflict often arises between the requirements of the General Public License to make "derived work" available, and firms' interest to protect their intellectual property embodied in the code. This study reveals that firms routinely use various means to protect their developments, while keeping the GPL. Still, they do reveal a considerable share of their code, on average, 49%. In addiiton, this paper shows how the relative importance of various benefits and downsides of revealing determines a firm's pattern of revealing.
Henkel, Joachim, The Jukebox Mode of Innovation: a Model of Commercial Open Source Development (May 23, 2004)
In this paper, I explore the circumstances under which innovation processes without secrecy or intellectual property protection are viable, and where free revealing of innovations is a profit-maximizing strategy. Motivated by an empirical study of embedded Linux, I develop a duopoly model of quality competition. Firms require two complementary technologies as inputs, but differ with respect to the relative importance of these technologies. I find that a regime with compulsory revealing can lead to higher product qualities and higher profits than a proprietary regime. When the decision to reveal is endogenized, equilibria with voluntary revealing arise, again superior to the proprietary outcome.
Henkel, Joachim & Mark Tins, Munich/MIT Suvey: Development of Enbedded Linux (May 10, 2004)
The use of Linux in embedded devices has increased enormously in recent years. Most of the publicly available code for embedded Linux is developed and contributed by commercial firms, not by hobbyists. This raises the question if and how the development process differs from that of other OSS. This issue was addressed in a survey of embedded Linux developers yielding 268 valid responses. This paper is a collection of descriptive results from the survey.
Hollaar, Lee A., Legal Protection of Digital Information, ISBN: 1570183406 (2002)
Institute for Software Research (UC Irvine), Open Source Software Development Research Website
Johnson, Justin Pappas, Economics of Open Source Software (May 17, 2001)
A simple model of open source software is presented. Individual user-programmers decide whether to invest their valuable time and effort to develop a software application that will become a public good if so developed. The benefits and drawbacks of open source versus profit driven developments are presented.
Jones, Pamela, GrokLaw Website
Exhaustive coverage of the SCO v. IBM litigation.
Järvinen, Hannu, The Legal Aspects of Open Source Licensing (2002)
Kalwey, Nadine, Stefan Kooths & Markus Langenfurth, Open Source Software - An Economic Assessment (December 2003)
This study examines whether or not Open Source Software represents an economically suitable alternative to the proprietary commercial software market in terms of creating value-added and economic efficiency.
Katz, M; Shapiro C., Systems Competition and Network Effects, 8 Journal of Economic Perspectives 2 (Spring 1994)
Khalak, Asif, Economic Model for Impact of Open Source Software (November 21, 2000)
This paper presents an economic model of the impact of Open Source Software (OSS) upon a commercial software market.
Koch, Stefan & Schneider, Georg, Results From Software Engineering Research Into Open Source Development Projects Using Public Data (August 2000)
This paper presents first results from research into open source projects from a software engineering perspective.
Lawrie, Tony; Gacek, Christina, Issues of dependability in open source software development, 27 ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, Issue 3 34
This paper presents issues raised by the articles, presentations, and discussions concerning Open Source Software, Trustworthiness, and Dependability at the Open Source Development Workshop held in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, on the 25th & 26th of February 2002.
Lemley, Mark; McGowan, David, Legal Implications of Network Effects, 86 Cal. L. Rev. 479 (1998)
Lerner, Josh & Jean Tirole, The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond (December 2004)
Lerner, Josh & Triole, Jean, The Simple Economics of Open Source (March 2000)
This paper makes a preliminary exploration of the economics of open source software.
Lerner, Josh & Triole, Jean, The Scope of Open Source Licensing (2003)
"This paper is an initial exploration of the determinants of open source license choice. It first highlights how the decision is shaped not just by the preferences of the licensor itself, but also by that of the community of developers. The paper then presents an empirical analysis of the determinants of license choice using the SourceForge database, a compilation of nearly 40,000 open source projects. Projects geared toward end-users tend to have restrictive licenses, while those oriented toward developers are less likely to do so. Projects that are designed to run on commercial operating systems and whose primary language is English are less likely to have restrictive licenses. Projects that are likely to be attractive to consumers—such as games—and software developed in a corporate setting are more likely to have restrictive licenses. Projects with unrestricted licenses attract more contributors. These findings are broadly consistent with theoretical predictions."
MacCormack, Alan, John Rusnak & Carliss Baldwin, Exploring the Structure of Complex Software Designs: An Empirical Study of Open Source and Proprietary Code (2004)
"First, we compare the design structures of two complex software products the Linux operating system and the Mozilla web browser that were developed via contrasting modes of organization: specifically, open source versus proprietary development. We find significant differences in their designs, consistent with an interpretation that Linux possesses a more modular architecture. We then track the evolution of Mozilla, paying particular attention to a major re-design effort that took place several months after its release as an open source product. We show that this effort resulted in a design structure that was significantly more modular than its predecessor, and indeed, more modular than that of a comparable version of Linux."
McConnel, Steve, Open-Source Methodology: Ready for Prime Time?, 16 IEEE Software 6 (July/August 1999)
A critical view of OSS development methodology.
McGowan, David, Legal Implications of Open-Source Software, 2001 U. Ill. L. Rev. 241 (2001)
McLaughlin, David, Opening The Code: Software Excellence As A Function Of Its Development Environment (May 1, 2001)
"This thesis ...first defines excellence in software, and then examines the software ecosystems that surround proprietary and Open Source conceptions of digital property in terms of their incentive structures--incentives that either encourage or discourage quality."
Meeker, Heather, Mark My Words: Trademark and Open Source, LinuxWorld (November 13, 2004)
Mockus, Andrus; Fielding, Roy T., Two Case Studies of Open Source Software Development: Apache and Mozilla, 11 ACM Transactions on Software Engineering Methodology 3 (January 2002)
An empirical look at some software quality metrics in OSS projects (compared to commercial projects)
Mockus, Audris; Fielding, Roy T.; Herbsleb, James, A Case Study of Open Source Software Development: The Apache Server (2000)
"We examine the development process of a major open source application, the Apache web server. By using email archives of source code change history and problem reports we quantify aspects of developer participation, core team size, code ownership, productivity, defect density, and problem resolution interval for this OSS project. This analysis reveals a unique process, which performs well on important measures."
Discusses the scope of the derivative work right in the context of computer systems. Argues that nonreplacing, enhancing component works should not be considered infringing under copyright law.
Nichols, David; Twidale, Michael, Usability and Open Source Software (December 2002)
Focuses on some reasons that OSS may not replace proprietary software (e.g., inertia, support, legislation, etc.) .
Open Source Initiative, Open Source Initiative Website
Find catalog of OSS licenses here, as well as the OSI Open Source Definition.
Peng, Zheshi, Linux Adoption by Firms (May 3, 2004)
"The objective of this study is to examine the evolution of the market for Linux based products for the 1993-2003 period. This study builds on the literature on open source software and traditional theories of technology adoption to make three important contributions. First, it develops a method to identify the stages of the life of a new technology. Secondly, it provides a way to measure the temporal patterns of the evolution of a new market. Finally, it validates the density dependence model using data on open source."
Ravicher, Daniel B., The Implied Patent Grant in GPL, Intellectual Property and Technology Summit, April 22-24, 2005
Discusses the implications of the doctrine of implied patent license on software distributed under the GPL.
Ravicher, Daniel B., Patents: Why Free / Open Source Software Might Have Less To Fear Than Non-Free Software, Intellectual Property and Technology Summit, April 22-24, 2005
Argues that the patent threat to Free / Open Source Software is no greater than that to proprietary software.
Reddy, Bernard; Evans, David S., Government Preferences for Promoting Open-Source Software: A Solution in Search of a Problem (May 21, 2002)
"Surveys current government proposals and initiatives to support open-source software and examines whether there is a significant market failure that would justify such intervention in the software industry. The article concludes that there is no evidence of any significant market failures in the provision of commercial software and no evidence that the establishment of policy preferences in favor of open-source software on the part of governments would increase consumer welfare."
Rodgers, Steven L.; Calvin, James B., The Compelling Case for Open Source Embedded Tools (December 8, 2002)
This is a very accessible overview of the law of open source. It is also very recent (2005), which makes it all the more relevant. Rosen is very good about breaking down the legalese of various license formats (academic, GPL, Mozilla, CPL, OSL, ASL) and provides a straightforward analysis of why and how an entity would/should choose one license over another. His treatment of IP (copyright v patent protection for OS) is also very readable.
Rosenberg, Donald K., Open Source and the Religious Wars of the 21st Century (May 1998)
Open source history & background
Rosenberg, Donald K., Open Source: The Unauthorized Whitepapers (2000)
Rossi, Maria Alessandra, Decoding the 'Free/Open Source (F/OSS) Software Puzzle' a survey of theoretical and empirical contributions (April 2004)
"The purpose of this paper is to provide a sufficiently comprehensive account of these contributions in order to draw some general conclusions on the state of our understanding of the phenomenon and identify directions for future research. The exercise suggests that what is puzzling about F/OSS is not so much the fact that people freely contribute to a good they make available to all, but rather the complexity of its institutional structure and its ability to organizationally evolve over time."
Samoladas, Ioannis; Stamelos, Ioannis; Angelis, Lefteris; Oikonomou, Apostolos, Open source software development should strive for even greater code maintainability, 47 Communications of the ACM, Issue 10 83 (February 2005)
A study of almost six million lines of code tracks how freely accessible source code holds up against time and multiple iterations.
OSSD often entails shorter time frames, producing higher quality systems, and incurring lower costs than may be realized through developing systems according SE techniques.
Scacchi, Walt, When Is Free/Open Source Software Development Faster, Better, And Cheaper than Software Engineering? (June 2004)
"This chapter draws attention to the question of determining the conditions when free/open source software development may represent a significant alternative to modern software engineering techniques for developing large-scale software systems. F/OSSD often entails shorter development times that can produce higher quality systems, and incur lower costs than may be realized through developing systems according SE techniques. Understanding why and how this may arise is the focus of this chapter...."
Schach; Jin; Wright; Heller; Offutt, Quality Impacts of Clandestine Common Coupling (July 2003)
"The number of instances of common coupling between a module M and the other modules can be changed without any explicit change to M; this is termed "clandestine common coupling." This paper presents results from a study of clandestine common coupling in 391 versions of Linux."
Schach; Jin; Wright; Heller; Offutt, Maintainability of the Linux Kernel (2002)
"We conclude that, unless Linux is restructured with a bare minimum of common coupling, the dependencies induced by common coupling will, at some future date, make Linux exceedingly hard to maintain without inducing regression faults."
Scherler, Thorsten, Open Source Software within organization - Critical factors for consulting (2004)
The main focus of this work is to conduct the consultation in consideration of the topic Introduction of Open Source e-Business Technologies. Due to limited budget funds more and more enterprises are designing their value chain more cost-effective by using web based systems. Mostly all parts of the value chain can be supported by e-business technologies. To further reduce the costs this e-business technologies should be Open Source.
Serrão, Carlos; Neves, Daniel; Trezentos, Paulo, Open Source Security Analysis (2003)
"To illustrate the fact that application security depends, above all, on the security of the OS underneath, we present the case of a DRM (Digital Rights Management) solution – MOSESOpenSDRM - implemented on top of the Linux OS, in the scope of the EU MOSES IST RTD programme. Some of conclusions hereby drawn are not compatible with some Microsoft funded studies that point to the fact that open source OS’s are more insecure."
The Software Directive sought to avoid shifting the balance of copyright protection for software so that firms could later appropriate the creative expression of original software developers. The substantially lower threshold of copyright protection - as compared to patents - suggests that patent protection may provide a greater incentive for developers to be truly innovative. Recent developments in the software industry have clarified that the IT industry may be in need of patent law to complement copyright and trade secret law for software innovation.
Software Freedom Law Center, Software Freedom Law Center Website
We provide legal representation and other law related services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software.
Stewart, K.J.; Ammeter, A.P.; Maruping, L.M., A Preliminary Analysis of the Influences of Licensing and Organizational Sponsorship on Success in Open Source Projects, Proceedings of the 38th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences - 2005
"This paper develops and tests a model of the impact of licensing restrictiveness and organizational sponsorship on the popularity and vitality of open source software (OSS) development projects. Using data gathered from Freshmeat.net and OSS project home pages the main conclusions derived from the analysis are that organizational sponsorship has a positive effect on project popularity by easing user concerns about cost and quality and that license restrictiveness may have a negative effect on popularity by reducing the perceived utility of open source software. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, and the paper outlines several avenues for future research."
Suzor, Nic; Fitzgerald, Brian; Bassett, Graham, Legal Issues for the Use of Free and Open Source Software in Government (January 2004)
This paper examines some of the legal issues that face the uptake of free and open source software in government in Australia.
Tere, Vaden, Intellectual Property, Open Source and Free Software (April 29, 2003)
Twidale, Michael B & David M. Nichols, Usability Discussions in Open Source Development (August 2004)
"In this paper we explore how open source projects address issues of usability. We examine bug reports of several projects to characterise how developers address and resolve issues concerning user interfaces and interaction design. We discuss how bug reporting and discussion systems can be improved to better support bug reporters and open source developers."
Valloppillil, Vinod, Halloween Memos (August 11, 1998)
van Reijswoud, Victor; Topi, Corrado, Alternative Routes in the Digital World: Open Source Software in Africa (October 9, 2003)
Software has always hidden its object code. The author's interests in software are protected by the right of integrity, but an open-source programmer's interests are protected by a license. The moral right of attriubtion and integrity apply to a proprietary software programmer. The author suggests that a similar "collaborative integrity" right applies to open source programmers.
The author grapples with IP policy as it applies to the Internet and suggests that its role in regulating the software infrastructure for the Internet and information platforms will increasingly resemble telecommunications law. Copyright and patent law remain muddled in this arena, "in part because of the unresolved debate betwen the commons and proprietary control perspectives, and thus are in need of a clear analytical framework to ensure that they serve sound competition policy goals." The author proposes an entirely new model for an IP policy that regulates open access to information platforms in a manner consistent with antitrust law. The more useful portion of this article - at least for our purposes - may be the introduction and some background information, including information on the history of the Internet, reverse engineering, and the model of the Commons.
West, Joel, How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies, 32 Research Policy, Issue 7 0 (December 31, 2002)
"Responding to the Internet and open source systems, three traditional vendors of proprietary platforms experimented with hybrid strategies which attempted to combine the advantages of open source software while retaining control and differentiation. Such hybrid standards strategies reflect the competing imperatives for adoption and appropriability, and suggest the conditions under which such strategies may be preferable to either the purely open or purely proprietary alternatives."
Wheeler, David A., Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers! (May 9, 2005)
Zhao, Luyin; Elbaum, Sebastian, A survey on quality related activities in open source, 25 ACM Sigsoft Software Engineering Notes, Issue 3 54 (May 2000)
Empirical look at the QA aspect of open source software projects.
"Free and proprietary software are at odds and offer different values. Proprietary software typically provides cash-and-carry functionality for the end user. It almost uniforly reserves all rights to the author exept a license to 'run' software on the purchaser's computer. In an apparent response to the success of the 'free' software movement, certain proprietary software makers have attempted to allow approved users some adaptation access."