The chapter discusses the adoption and assimilation process of open source software as a new form of information technology. Specifically, the case reports a general positive attitude towards the widely used technology, the OpenOffice.org suite for office automation. Nevertheless, it shows the difficulties of the first early adopters to lead the innovation process and push other users. Different usage patterns, interoperability issues, and, in general, the reduction in personal productivity typical of the early phases of adoption are also remarked. The aim of this chapter is to give the reader an overview of the adoption process by means of the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered during real world experimentation, and to shed some light on how empirical data can corroborate or challenge the existing literature about open source software and technology adoption.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Deployment: Use of an item on a relatively large scale.
Office Automation: The set of software necessary to provide the necessary integration between the information system and the standard office activities. The minimal set of instruments includes a word-processor, a spreadsheet, software for presentations, and a small personal database application.
Lock-In: In economics, denotes a situation in which a consumer cannot change his buying decision without incurring in high switching costs. For example, a user may be bound to a certain software provider for the services offered, by switching to another provider he may incur in high switching costs to change his system infrastructure.
Assimilation: Passive adoption of a new practice or behaviour, generally resulting from participating in activities where such behaviour is used or is expected.
Network effect: In economics, denotes a demand-side effect, by which the utility given to a certain good increases with the number of successive users adopting it. Information goods are a typical example of good that manifest this behaviour.
Data Standard: Denotes a standard to store data in information science. The most important classification is between open/closed data standards according to the publishing of the specification, although the exact classification is still controversial.
Migration: Transitioning from one particular software package to another.