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Open source collaboration: Two cases in the U.S. public sector

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abstract

Globally, there is an emergence of open source consortia focused on the sharing of resources and code, and a desire to promote an open source approach generally. In this paper, we describe our findings from interviews with participants working in two relatively new consortia in the government sector: the Government Open Code Collaborative or GOCC, and the Open Source Software Institute or OSSI. For each case we consider six major questions: (1) How and why did these collaborative efforts begin? (2) What are their motivations? (3) How are these collaborative efforts governed? (4) What communication and collaborative infrastructure do they utilize? (5) What software do they focus on? and, (6) What is their current status? Our findings suggest that incentives, membership structures, stable paid staff, concentrated focus and attention to the creation and delivery of “value” to participating organizations are important factors leading to successful open source consortia.

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