“Release early, release often” is becoming a popular new product introduction strategy in open source software development. We study the influence of release strategies on the download market share of open source projects. Using a panel data set collected from Sourceforge.net, we find that while more frequent releases are associated with better subsequent download market share, the relationship is curvilinear. Too frequent releases could backfire due to the subtle effects on the demand and supply sides of open source software production. From the demand side, we find that releasing frequently may work less effectively in projects with higher adoption costs. From the supply side, fast releases may work less effectively in projects with weak community contributions. Even when the community contributions are strong, the restrictiveness of open source license moderates the effectiveness of releasing early and often. These results have implications for managing open source projects and research on open source software, open innovation, and software adoption.
Chen, Wei; Krishnan, Vish; and Zhu, Kevin, "“Release Early, Release Often”? An Empirical Analysis of Release Strategy in Open Source Software Co-Creation" (2013). PACIS 2013 Proceedings. 11.