Open-Source Software Issues

Open-Source Software Issues

Sofiane Sahraoui
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-563-4.ch070
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Two major research publications have recently dedicated special issues to the emerging field of OSS (Research policy, 2003; Management Science, 2006). Likewise, major information systems conferences are starting to list OSS as a research track (IRMA2004, Working IFIP 8.6) translating the heightened importance of this phenomenon in the business world. Undoubtedly, OSS has been admitted as a legitimate field of study in the realm of business academics, but OSS research remains largely trailing the gigantic developments in the open-source industry. For instance, there are recurrent speculations in specialized IT magazines that Microsoft will go down the drain with the OSS phenomenon (Fontana, 2003); Oracle will have a hard time maintaining its supremacy in the database market (Bank, 2003); and Apple might come out the big winner by latching on to OSS (Brockmeire, 2003). However, there is hardly any solid piece of academic research to forecast the outlook of the IT industry in light of the surging OSS phenomenon. Existing research, including the two special issues mentioned above, is focusing on validating models of innovation in a virtual environment (Franke, 2003; Von Krogh, Spaeth, & Lakhani, 2003; Hippel, 2001); tracking project management dynamics in OSS development (Hertel, Neidner, & Herrmann, 2003; O’Mahony, 2003); examining the intellectual property, ethical and legal implications of OSS (Evers, 2000; Faldetta, 2002); or reworking the economics underlying software development in the case of OSS (Zeitlyn, 2003). Much less has been done in critical areas pertaining to the new competitive game introduced by OSS; the sustainability of the OSS business model or models; the strategies for OSS licensing; the economic and business viability of OSS in light of potential challenges and opportunities; and the nascent national and government IT strategies centered on OSS; plus a variety of other issues that are beyond the scope of this short article. This article seeks to clarify the critical factors that will increasingly determine the success of OSS in becoming a mainstream choice for software procurement processes. Along with a definition of each of these factors, potential research avenues are indicated. However, these factors are not meant to be exhaustive in any fashion.

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