CS286: Motivation behind F/OSS

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Why hackers do what they do: Understanding Motivation and Effort in Free / Open Source Software Projects. This is an article presented in "Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software, MIT Press 2005"

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CS286: Motivation behind F/OSS

  1. 1. Why hackers do what they do: Understanding Motivation and Effort in Free / Open Source Software Projects Authors of this article: Karim R. Lakhani and Robert G. Wolf Praveen AP CS 286 Open Source Development
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>What makes F/OSS developers to contribute? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the motivation? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intrinsic Motivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enjoyment based Intrinsic Motivation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Obligation / Community based Intrinsic Motivation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extrinsic Motivation </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Motivation <ul><li>Intrinsic Motivation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherent satisfaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enjoyment based Intrinsic Motivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Activities were pursued for the sake of enjoyment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FLOW </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>When the skill matches with the challenge </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>F/OSS developers seek good flow states to avoid anxiety or boredom </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obligation / Community based Intrinsic Motivation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Acting on the basis of principle, adherence to norms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Community goal is strongest when private gain seeking is minimized. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Balance money & fun </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Motivation <ul><li>Extrinsic Motivation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentives induces people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits exceed the costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate & Delayed benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use of software product & Career advancement, Improving programming skills, Assessment through code contributions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Who are those developers? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>97.5% Male Avg age: 30yrs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>51% University level training , 9% on the job training, 40% self taught </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students made 19.5% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average Computer Programming experience 11.8 years </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Payment status and Efforts <ul><li>Paid Participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paid contributors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Direct payments & supervisor’s awareness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Effort in projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14.1 average hours spent/week </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Creativity and Flow <ul><li>Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Flow </li></ul>
  7. 7. Motivations to contribute to F/OSS Community Economic/Extrinsic based motivations Obligation/Community based motivations
  8. 8. Motivations Cluster 1 (%) Cluster 2 (%) Cluster 3 (%) Cluster 4 (%) Work need 91 8 12 28 Nonwork need 11 100 0 2 Intellectually stimulating 41 45 69 12 Improves skill 20 43 72 19 Work with team 17 16 28 19 Code should be open 12 22 42 64 Beat proprietary software 11 8 9 19 Community reputation 14 8 11 13 Professional status 25 6 22 18 Obligation from use 23 20 6 83 Paid for contribution 86 18 26 32 Total percentage of sample in each cluster 25 27 29 19
  9. 9. Findings <ul><li>Creative exercise leads to useful output </li></ul><ul><li>Being paid feeling creative have no negative impact </li></ul><ul><li>Production – consumption activity </li></ul><ul><li>To participate and contribute to the creation of public good </li></ul><ul><li>None dominates or destroys the efficacy of the other(Intrinsic, extrinsic) </li></ul><ul><li>Majority is creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Being paid & writing code = ½ the weight of creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Caring about the reputation = 1/3 the weight of creativity </li></ul>
  10. 10. Critics <ul><li>The project is controlling your creativity and not you. Is not it? </li></ul>

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