Open source software development and innovation

Thierry Warin, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont & CIRANO

Open source is often presented as a very promising system for the
development of software in the Internet world. One of its greatest advantages
is to enable and integrate the flow of innovation coming from
many unrelated developers. Existing literature has tried to explain
why these developers voluntarily participate in open source projects.
We extend this inquiry by demonstrating that there are cases where
the open source system can in fact lead to a less efficient result in
terms of innovation due to information communication problems inherent
in this mode of development. Implications are drawn in terms
of the future of the open source system, but also in terms of antitrust
and the Theory of the firm.

Date: 17 June-00 0000