Open Source Economics

I can understand why an individual might want to contribute to open source software. I have felt the lure of peer recognition, skills development, and the satisfaction of creating a useful product. At the same time, I’ve felt intimidated, like my skills weren’t sufficient to participate usefully. Thus far, all I’ve ever contributed is a couple of trivial patches to projects I’d found useful. I haven’t felt confident that investing my time in open source software would help advance my career, so I haven’t made it a priority. I’ve been rethinking this perspective lately, in part due to papers like this one. In considering the payoff for companies that invest in open source, I thought it was notable that for systems integrators, the cost savings from open source software are typically NOT passed on to the customer.

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