Difference Between Users and Nonusers of Open Source Software in Exchange of Information

Published: 2021-06-30
582 words
3 pages
5 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
Literature review
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Sowe, et al., (2008, p.431) investigated exchange of techniques and ideas among users of the open source software projects. This paper objective was to establish the altruistic reasons for sharing knowledge among the people that have information and those that do not have such information.

The study by Goode, (2014) on the other hand aimed at establishing a new understanding of information sharing between users of OSS and no users. The researchers conducted multiple case studies to determine the difference between users and nonusers of open source software in exchange of information.


Sowe, et al., (2008) employed data from the Debian project due to its ability to provide researchers opportunity to observe F/OSS community participation from the list archives. It involves conducting an analysis of the posting activities of the participants through counting the emails. It further counted the number of replies made to question other posts. Data was extracted and mapped on a database by use of a Python Script.

On the other hand, Goode, (2014) to establish a basis for the theoretical model the theory of integration was used to combine different theoretical and empirical evidence to establish connection existing between phenomena. Multiple case studies were selected as the most appropriate since it allowed researchers to experience the phenomena under investigation. They also chose six different firms to examine their Linux and open source users. They conducted three interviews with open source user businesses and three non-user firms to identify the factors of using OSS. (Goode, 2014)

Finding or results

Sowe, et al., (2008) established that participants in the project not only interacted but were willing to share their knowledge most of the time. The posting of each member was highly related to the number of the questioned they asked. The study also showed that knowledge sharing in open source communities is self-organizing.

Goode (2014) on their part found that that exchange of information in the open source is extensively and widely applied within organizations when compared with non-user firms. (Goode, 2014) The second finding was that the open source user firms rely less on the external IT services because the level of IT knowledge among the staff that uses open source is high, which led the companies to have capabilities in self-development.

Limitation of the study

There is a high risk of generalization in this project having selected and analyzed only two lists in the successful Debian F/OSS project. Secondly, the names and emails removed during data cleaning may have contributed to knowledge sharing of the participants. The research findings are mainly theoretical for extraction data and cleaning of methodology.

According to Goode, (2014), the research was affected by factors like the nature of the occurrence being analyzed. There was also a problem with the viability of the selected methods. Also, they did not explain how the organizational structure and technology will affect the knowledge sharing in OSS adopter firms


Sowe, et al., (2008) in the study that employed mailing list from the Debian project and analyzed through metrics, found that participant interacted and shared knowledge willingly in the free source communities. They also established that the knowledge sharing was self-organizing.

Goode (2008) the finding of this investigation suggest that information sharing is more extensive in firms that use open source software. This is because their development road maps are poorly specified hence increasing reliance on internal support groups. This finding has been arrived at through case study and conducting interviews are also useful method to gather information in firms where the analysis processes, boundaries, and context are not clear.


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