A Look Inside the Forge: Developer Productivity in Open Source Projects
Jan Eilhard, CERNA, Mines Paristech, Paris
This paper presents an empirical study on the production of open source software. Using a panel of 10,553 projects registered on SourceForge over a period of 28 months (February 2005 until May 2007), we estimate a production function relating the number of file releases - program updates - with the number of corporate, private and academic contributors. We adopt a flexible Translog specification for the production function, which makes it possible to study the individual productivity of each category of developers as well as interactions between different categories.
Our results suggest that the productivity of corporate developers is not significantly different from private or academic contributors. They also highlight increasing returns to scale in the production of file releases for the three types of developers, thus suggesting substantial efficiency gains of division of labor in large open source projects. We also find negative interaction terms between corporate and private/academic developers, suggesting coordination issues or even conflict between the different types of contributors. Finally, our analysis highlights positive spillovers across projects, whose intensities differ with respect to the software programming language, topic, and development stage.
About the speaker
Co-author: Yann Ménière (Mines Paristech, Paris)
Venue: UNU-MERIT Conference room.
Date: 11 March 2009
Time: 16:00 - 17:00 CEST