From planning to mature: On the success of open source projects
Open source is an example of user-centric innovation initiated by an individual or group of users to satisfy their specific needs; the more a software evolves towards a stable release able to address the requirements of its developers, the more successful the project. In this paper we use a large data-set obtained from SourceForge.net to estimate the relationship between a series of different characteristics of OS projects and the probability of evolution of the source code from a preliminary release to a mature version. We show that while projects distributed under highly restrictive licensing terms (GPL) have a significantly smaller probability of reaching a stable release, applications towards sophisticated users have a larger probability of evolving in the development status. Interestingly, we find that the size of the “community of developers” increases the chances of progress but this effect decreases as the community gets larger, a signal of possible coordination problems.