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Intrinsic motivation in open source software Development

Open source is considered a public good, which is produced for free by skilled, highly educated programmers. This paper examines open source in the context of private provision of public goods. This model is augmented with the concept of the OSS programmer as a ‘homo ludens’ and gift-giving. Programming OSS is considered to have a utility benefit (gift-giving) and a play benefit (homo ludens). This model is then compared to preexisting literature on the topic and shown to be additional evidence for the intrinsic motivation of OSS programmers as well as an alternative to the theory that programming OSS has a signaling, indicating quality of the programmer to outsiders, role.

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