How Firms Relate to Open Source Communities

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* Article: How Firms Relate to Open Source Communities, Michael Ayukawa, Mohammed Al-Sanabani, and Adefemi Debo-Omidokun. Open Source Business Resource, January 2011: The Business of Open Source.



"This article explores the relationship between firms and open source communities. Open source communities create, adopt, adapt, or disseminate innovation in a manner very different from a proprietary approach. To put this in context, we first define what is meant by open source community and then examine the roles members may play in these communities. Next, we illustrate that a firm can participate in an open source development community in different ways, depending on its level of sponsorship of that community. We assert that the degree of influence desired by the firm should connect to its business strategy and the firm needs to determine how its participation and support can be used to enhance its competitive position and provide new value to its customers. We next explore three main strategies to leverage and engage communities. We also examine how community interactions are affected by the degree of openness when engaging the community and how this relates to the firm's ability to protect the competitive advantage of its proprietary assets. This discussion will help firms with strategic planning when considering how to tap into this source of technical innovation that lies outside their boundaries."