A Case Study of Motivations for Corporate Contribution to FOSS


Free/Open Source Software developers come from a myriad of different backgrounds, and are driven to contribute to projects for a variety of different reasons, including compensation from corporations or foundations. Motivation can have a dramatic impact on how and what contribution an individual makes, as well as how tenacious they are. These contributions may align with the needs of the developer, the community, the organization funding the developer, or all of the above. Understanding how corporate sponsorship affects the social dynamics and evolution of Free/Open Source code and community is critical to fostering healthy communities. We present a case study of corporations contributing to the Linux Kernel. We find that corporate contributors contribute more code, but are less likely to participate in non-coding activities. This knowledge will help project leaders to better understand the dynamics of sponsorship, and help to steer resources.

In Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), IEEE.