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Communications of the Association for Information Systems

Abstract

Open-source software (OSS) development offers organizations an alternative to purchasing proprietary software or commissioning custom software. In one form of OSS development, organizations develop the software they need in collaboration with other organizations. If the software is used by the organizations to operate their business, such collaborations can lead to what we call “user-led open-source consortia” or “user-led OSS consortia”. Although this concept is not new, there have been few studies of user-led OSS consortia. The studies that examined user-led OSS consortia did so through the lens of OSS, but not from the inter-company collaboration perspective. User-led OSS consortia are a distinct phenomenon which share elements of inter-company collaboration, outsourcing software development, and vendor-led OSS development and cannot be understood by using only a single lens. To close this gap, we present problems and solutions in inter-company collaboration, outsourcing, and OSS literature, and present the results of a single-case study. We focus on problems in the early phases of a user-led open-source consortium, the openMDM consortium, and the solutions applied to these problems. Furthermore, we present the factors which lead this consortium to sustained growth.

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