The aim of this chapter is to explore the differences and commonalities between open source software and other cases of open technology. The concept of open technology is used here to indicate various models of innovation based on the participation of a wide range of different actors who freely share the innovations they have produced. The chapter begins with a review of the problems connected to the production of public goods and explains why open source software seems to be a "curious exception" for traditional economic reasoning. Then it describes the successful operation of similar models of innovation (open technology) in other technological fields. The third section investigates the literature in relation to three fundamental issues in the current open source research agenda, namely, developers' motivations, performance, and sustainability of the model. Finally, the fourth section provides a final comparison between open source software and the other cases of open technology. Â© 2007, IGI Global.
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