Benefiting Innovative Capabilities of Software Developer/User Communities in Developing Countries
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Since technological innovation is generally considered to be a major force in global economic growth, the development of innovative capabilities in developing countries has been a very important policy issue. Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) has reshaped software technology through the creation of developer/user communities which enabled the collaboration of different parties resulting in the production of Linux and similar software projects. FLOSS user/developer community networks serve not only as "learning, reviewing, and testing" environments for developers, but they may also act as innovation networks that contribute to the improvement of the innovative capabilities of individual developers within the community. Therefore, understanding the characteristics, the motivating factors and the innovative dynamics of these developer communities will provide valuable insight into how to improve the innovative capabilities of developing countries in relation to software.The aim of this paper is to explore the characteristics of FLOSS developer communities in order to discover what benefits they may offer developing countries in generating innovative capabilities related to software. By conducting a survey in the FLOSS user/developer community in Turkey, the demographic characteristics, motivation factors and innovative characteristics of the community are explored and the question of whether these communities may act as innovation networks is examined. It is concluded that FLOSS community networks mostly serve as knowledge sharing and collaboration platforms, however, they do have the potential to evolve into innovation networks if they receive support from the local software industry and academic institutions.
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