Money Complicates Everything

Context: Firm involvement in Open Source Software Development introduces money into a previously volunteer-based phenomenon. Complications arise when attempting to fund developers or an Open Source community. Because of these complications, there are a number of concerns that need to be addressed.

Objective: The objective of this study is to understand the complications money introduces to Open Source Software Development by answering the research questions posed.
Methods: This was a qualitative study done by conducting four interviews that were then analyzed using the constant comparison method. Each interview was coded and analyzed to find common themes. The themes were the grouped an further analyzed to find a common theme for the thesis as well as to answer the research questions posed.

Results: The results of this study show that the question of who firms should pay is very important, as there are many implications with the flow of money into Open Source. Firms should avoid any appearance of steering the Open Source project, and to do so should avoid employing core developers. Apart from paying developers directly, there are a number of ways to monetarily support Open Source, including supporting conferences, funding community foundations, and funding Kickstarter platforms. Motivation is impacted in both negative and positive ways by money, and the society of open source is also impacted by money, creating changes in interaction and sometimes a class based community.

Conclusion: Money complicates Open Source Software Development, but there are ways for a firm to navigate the environment without negatively impacting the firm, community, or the developers.