Generating Wealth from Open Source Software

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


    Open source software and proprietary software sit at opposite ends of a spectrum of ideologies. The former is developed by volunteers for the benefit of the community and the latter is developed by firms to generate revenues for their owners. The purpose of this dissertation is to challenge those ideologies and look at how wealth might be generated from open source software.The dissertation is problem driven. The author develops engineering software asa by-product of academic research. Bringing that software to market in thetraditional way would require significant capital expenditure. It would also be likely to fail because of competition from large incumbents. A possible alternative is via open sourcing.The dissertation develops a business model for open source software projectswhich covers project initiation to wealth generating capability. There are two mainaspects to the author’s model. Firstly, a successful open source project requires atechnically competent leader who must invest time in community building, to satisfy the motivations of volunteer developers and the needs of users. Secondly, careful timing of revenue generation can help avoid the conflict of ideals between open source communities and profit making firms. Both sides operate at their best at different times in the project life-cycle. The project is only capable of generating wealth when the volunteers have already made most of their contribution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Manchester
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


    • Open source software
    • Open innovation
    • Finite element software


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