Survival factors for Free Open Source Software projects: A multi-stage perspective

Academic Article


  • This paper uses a large data set of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) projects obtained from to investigate survival factors at various stages of a FOSS project’s lifecycle. It distinguishes FOSS projects that are still at the initial stage of development from those at the growth stage, and posits that the relative importance of the identified survival factors changes as FOSS projects evolve from one stage to the next. The results demonstrate the changing effect of factors over time affecting FOSS survival. Restrictive FOSS licenses and large internal and external networks are found to present advantages for projects that are at the initial stage, but the advantages dissipate as the projects move into the growth stage. Projects with high-quality external networks, greater levels of user/developer participation and service quality, and projects targeted at technical users have a higher likelihood of surviving at both stages. These findings show that a FOSS project team needs to be aware of the conditioning effect of time and focus on the appropriate mix of survival factors as the project moves from one stage to the next.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • August 2012
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • Developer characteristics
  • Free Open Source Software
  • Social networks
  • Software characteristics
  • Survival
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 352
  • End Page

  • 371
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 4