Working for Free? Motivations for Participating in Open-Source Projects

Alexander Hars and Shaosong Ou
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 6, Number 3, Spring 2002, pp. 25.

Abstract: The success of the Linux operating system has demonstrated the viability of open-source software, an alternative form of software development that challenges traditional assumptions about software markets. Understanding why developers participate in open-source projects is crucial for assessing the impact of open-source software. Their motivations fall into two broad categories: internal factors (e.g., intrinsic motivation, altruism) and external rewards (e.g., expected future returns, personal needs). The results of a survey administered to open-source programmers are summarized.

Key Words and Phrases: Altruism, human capital, intrinsic motivation, motivations, open-source software, software development.