Open source communities exist in large part through increasing participation from for-profit corporations. The balance between the seemingly conflicting ideals of open source communities and corporations creates a number of complex challenges for both. In this paper, we focus on corporate risk mitigation and the mandates on corporate participation in open source communities in light of open source license requirements. In response to these challenges, we aim to understand risk mitigation options within the dialectic of corporate participation with open source communities. Rather than emphasizing risk mitigation as ad hoc and emergent process focused on bottom lines and shareholder interests, our interest is in formalized instruments and project management processes that can help corporations mitigate risks associated with participation in open source communities through shared IT projects. Accordingly, we identify two key risk domains that corporations must be attendant to: property protection and compliance. In addition, we discuss risk mitigation sourcing, arguing that tools and processes for mitigating open source project risk do not stem solely from a corporation or solely from an open source community. Instead they originate from the interface between the two and can be paired in a complementary fashion in an overall project management process of risk mitigation.

This work has been funded through the National Science Foundation VOSS-IOS Grant: 1122642