Open Source Software

This has been a long-standing research interest (e.g. Feller & Fitzgerald 2000 (a Best Paper award winner), Feller & Fitzgerald 2001; Feller & Fitzgerald 2002).  Given the paradoxical nature of OSS (successful global software development for free), much research tended to focus inward on the OSS phenomenon, studying motivation and inward on the phenomenon, studying the motivations of individual developers to contribute to OSS projects, or the characteristics of specific OSS products and projects. In contrast, my research has sought to look outward to investigate the implications of the OSS phenomenon. This has resulted in a number of research sub-topics, including:

  • OSS 2.0 – the transformation of OSS into a commercial hybrid form (Fitzgerald 2006)
  • Opensourcing – whereby proprietary software companies release an OSS version of what was hitherto proprietary software and seek to establish an OSS community to support. This requires collaboration and co-opetition between proprietary companies and OSS communities and presents difficult challenges in that the company and the community (often comprised of SMEs) are typically competitors in the particular domain (Agerfalk and Fitzgerald 2008).
  • Open Source Service Networks (OSSNs) – an emergent form of collaborative network among SMEs organised on OSS principles that can compete successfully against the major traditional companies. The governance of OSSNs differs from the traditional model in that the network must ‘police’ itself in the absence of traditional sanctions available as part of the traditional organizational structure (Feller et al 2008)
  • How OSS is influenced by software engineering practices, and what lessons does OSS provide for software engineering (Fitzgerald 2011)
  • Inner Source, which refers to the adoption of OSS development practices and principles within an organization for in-house software development (Stol et al 2011)
  • Time-based release managment for OSS – an alternative to traditional commercial release management strategies which are often based on marketing new functionality. In contrast, the predicatability of time-based release management can offer several quality and sustainability advantages for OSS projects (Michlmayr & Fitzgerald 2013)



Agerfalk, P and Fitzgerald, B (2008) Outsourcing to an unknown workforce:  exploring opensourcing as a global sourcing strategy, MIS Quarterly, Vol 32, No. 3, pp. 385-410. pdf doc

Feller, J. & Fitzgerald, B. (2000) A Framework Analysis of the Open Source Software Development Paradigm, in W. Orlikowski et al (Eds) Proc. of 21st International Conference on Information Systems(ICIS2000), Australia, 2000.  | pdf doc
(This paper won the ICIS Best Conference Theme Paper award).

Feller, J. and Fitzgerald, B. (2002) Understanding Open Source Software Development, Addison-Wesley; UK (Serialised in Linux Business Week in 2002) | Link

Feller, J, Finnegan, P, Fitzgerald, B and Hayes, J (2008) From peer production to productization: a study of socially-enabled business exchanges in open source service networks, Information Systems Research, Vol 19, No. 4, pp.474-493. | pdf doc

Fitzgerald, B. (2006) The transformation of open source software, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 30, No 3, pp. 587-598. | pdf doc

Fitzgerald, B (2009) Open source software implementation: anatomy of success and failure, International Journal of Open Source Software Processes, Vol 1, No 1, pp. 1-19. (lead paper in inaugural issue) pdf doc

Fitzgerald, B (2011) Open source software: lessons from and for software engineering, IEEE Computer, 44 (10), 25-31. | pdf doc

Fitzgerald, B. and Feller, J. (2001) Open source software: investigating the software engineering, psychosocial and economic issues, Information Systems Journal, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 273-276. pdf doc

Fitzgerald, B. and Kenny, T. (2004) Developing an Information Systems Infrastructure with Open Source Software, IEEE Software, Vol. 19, No. 1,  February 2004, pp.50-55. pdf doc

Fitzgerald, B, Kesan, J, Russo, B, Shaikh, M and Succi, G (2011) Adopting Open Source Software: A Practical Guideline, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. | Google Scholar

Michlmayr, M and Fitzgerald, B (2013) Time-based Release Management in Free and Open Source (FOSS) Projects, International Journal on Open Source Software and Processes, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.1-19. pdf doc

Stol K.J, Ali-Babar M, Avgeriou P, Fitzgerald B (2011) A comparative study of challenges in integrating Open Source Software and Inner Source Software, Inform. Softw. Technol. (2011), doi:10.1016/j.infsof.2011.06.007. pdf doc