Open Source Software Governance Serving Technological Agility: The Case of Open Source Software within the DoD

Open Source Software Governance Serving Technological Agility: The Case of Open Source Software within the DoD

Thomas Le Texier (GREDEG – UMR 6227 CNRS and University of Nice - Sophia Antipolis, France) and David W. Versaille (EconomiX, University Paris 10 Nanterre, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-513-1.ch007


The development of open source software is currently arousing increasing interest in the IT world. This research inquires some specific paths enlarging the traditional view over open source software in inquiring the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the dynamics associated its front- and back-office activities. We explain how distinguishing basic administration from operational constraints and weapon R&D dynamics introduces specific governance concerns among public and private stakeholders. By no longer defining open source solutions as mere goods, but as services characterized by a flow of knowledge, we particularly highlight new emerging strategies of technological acquisition. Our analysis leads to revise the traditional role focusing mainly on cost issues and introduces open source software with distinctive properties serving the management of innovation and technological agility at the level of complex systems, exemplified here with the constraints associated to weapon systems and the Network centric warfare doctrine.
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From Open Source Software Development To Hybrid Business Model. The Case Of Firms And Public Administrations

The ‘open’ nature of open source software tends to make them public goods (Lerner & Tirole, 2002; Johnson, 2002), since they are defined by non-rivalry in consumption (Baldwin & Clark, 2006) as well as non-excludability (Osterloh & Rota, 2007). Open properties of ‘libre’ software thus open new fields of research that analyze the way open source project participants contribute to the public provision of the source code, then describing new models of both software production and collaborative work (von Krogh & von Hippel, 2003). The scope of potential contributors to open source software projects being extended, the overall outcome of the open source software development model may be better and more suited to any user’s needs. As a model of ‘private-collective’ innovation, the openness of the source code has to be interpreted as a new way to create software.

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