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Title: Collectivism, creativity, competition, and control in open source software development: reflections on the emergent governance of the SPDX® working group

Authors: Matt Germonprez; Julie E. Kendall; Kenneth E. Kendall; Brett Young

Addresses: College of Information Science and Technology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE 68182, USA ' Rutgers School of Business Camden, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ 08102, USA ' Rutgers School of Business Camden, Rutgers University, Camden, NJ 08102, USA ' Georgia Gwinnett College, Management Information Systems, 1000 University Center Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA

Abstract: For over a decade, we assumed that software developers had a choice between the cathedral and the bazaar: developers could choose to develop propriety software in a structural hierarchy of planned development, testing, and documentation or in a tumultuous and exciting, quick release open source marketplace. We are finding that these assumptions are no longer valid. Corporate members' participation in open source software development and greater attention to compliance with open source licenses has signalled the need for new metaphors for open source software design and development. In this study, we use participant observation and functional discourse analysis to determine which metaphors are useful and seek evidence for these metaphors in the emergent governance structure of the Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX®) working group, which is one of the important players in the future of open source development. We observed three governing structures for the SPDX working group: meritocracy, adhocracy, and family/republic and reflected back to the SPDX working group the need to pay greater attention to their governance structures to help in future strategic decisions. We conclude that open source developers now have a choice among collectivism, creativity, competition, and control.

Keywords: open source software; OSS; software development; metaphors; governance structures; cathedral and bazaar; collectivism; creativity; competition; control; bureaucracy; adhocracy; republic; meritocracy; Linux; SPDX; software design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISAM.2014.062290

International Journal of Information Systems and Management, 2014 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.125 - 145

Available online: 03 Jun 2014 *

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