same technical problems, and that
solving them once in a standardized
way benefits all. Competition does
manifest, but primarily in secondary markets, outside the deliberately designed open source community
of competitors, as each member is
then free to leverage the shared and
communal technology in corporate-specific, profit-generating ways.
Open source communities can
be deliberately designed to include
competing vendors and customers.
Work begins from a common base
of non-differentiating technology
(the technology and the commons).
Staunch competitors are brought
together (communities of frenemies)
under the auspices of a common,
neutral institutional structure (
honest brokerage), creating joint interest
in the widespread adoption and
success of the open source project.
The focus is to design the community of competitors as quickly and
clearly as possible and to remove
the professional skepticism that
comes with competitors working
collaboratively. A community of
competitors follows blueprints of
action to define shared technologies, community commons, and
the expression of responsibilities
and structures. The blueprints are
focused on creating clear and open
signals for potential new members
and removing points of confusion that may impede community
advancement. In a community of
competitors, minor misunderstandings can quickly become major
conflicts and the community is
designed to avoid such problems.
In open source communities of
competitors, new works are built
from the work of others; contribu-
tions are to a historical trajectory,
developed from and through an open
source community. Corporations
must learn to manage in a world
of open, interactive designs where
engagements are toward communal
technologies, freeing up corporate
innovation capacity to differentiate
and add commercial value to open
source products. Communities of
competitors have reformed con-
ventions of how open source com-
munities are structured, where
corporate opportunism is kept at
bay and focused coordination can
form around the non-differentiated
communal technology in efforts to
advance the goals of all involved [ 11].
This project has been funded through
the National Science Foundation VOSS -
IOS Grant: 1122642.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Matt Germonprez is the Mutual of
Omaha Associate Professor of
Information Systems and director
of the Open Source Lab at the
College of Information Science &
Technology, University of
Jonathan P. (J. P.) Allen is an asso-
ciate professor of information sys-
tems at the School of
Management, University of San
Francisco. His interests include
open technology, digital business,
Brian Warner is senior client ser-
vices manager in collaborative
projects at the Linux Foundation.
The Linux Foundation was formed
to protect, promote, and advance
the Linux kernel. It uses its collec-
tive experience to provide a neu-
tral home for open source projects in collaboration
with the world’s top technology companies.
Jamie Hill is a director within the
Enterprise Software group at
N YSE Technologies, the commer-
cial technology unit of NYSE
Euronext. In this role, he is the
product manager for products
and services derived from the
N YSE Technologies OpenMAMA Enterprise Edition,
certification program, and support services
Glenn McClements joined
Wombat Financial Software in
2006. In 2008 Wombat was sold
to NYSE Euronext and he is now
head of R&D for NYSE
Technologies, developing new
technologies and products for
N YSE and its customers. He is also the maintainer
of the OpenMAMA project, hosted by the Linux
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