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Developer Motivations, Social Aspects and Challenges of Open Source Software.

Athukorale, Iranga Supun. (2006) Developer Motivations, Social Aspects and Challenges of Open Source Software. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

The software industry has long used a proprietary approach (i. e. where a firm keeps its software source code protected from public). Open Source Software (OSS), which emerged as an alternative to the proprietary software, has seen a steady growth in the last decade. OSS is developed predominantly by volunteer developers participating in collaborative projects. The developers are the driving force behind OSS. It is therefore important for any firm engaged in OSS, to find out what motivates the developers to participate in OSS projects. Some pervious literature refers to the OSS community as a social movement. If so, this poses a challenge to firms, as a social movement consists of collective actions by its members, i. e. developers of OSS. The purpose of this study was to identify the motivations of OSS developers using a qualitative interview approach. The results were further analysed using existing social science theories, to determine whether the contribution of developers display aspects of volunteer participation in a social movement. Purposeful selection method was used to define the sample for the study, from an OSS development project from called Axis C++. The developers displayed a wide range of extrinsic motivations; however the intrinsic motivations seemed to be stronger as they were shared by many developers. Developers were committed to develop better software and maintain its quality and enjoyed writing software programs. A few developers seemed to be motivated by the opportunity to develop their reputation by participating in OSS projects. Some developers were motivated by the ability to develop their technical and personal skills by participating in an OSS project. This behaviour was associated with the belief that it would bring future career benefits. A significant finding is that the developers were motivated to protect software freedom (i. e. preserve the idea of open source), and to that end take action against proprietary software monopolies. The analysis revealed that the OSS community as displaying aspects of social movement participation. Overall the study highlighted a number of opportunities and threats to firms arising from the motivations of OSS developers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Athukorale, Iranga Supun.
Date : 2006
Additional Information : Thesis (M.B.A.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2006.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 24 Apr 2020 15:27
Last Modified : 24 Apr 2020 15:27
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855113

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