Open Source Licensing in Mixed Markets, or Why Open Source Software Does Not Succeed

CCP Working Paper No. 08-2

31 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2008 Last revised: 29 Sep 2013

See all articles by Alexia Gaudeul

Alexia Gaudeul

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Date Written: July 29, 2008


The rivalry between developers of open source and proprietary software encourages open source developers to court users and respond to their needs. If the open source developer wants to promote her own open source standard and solutions, she may choose liberal license terms such as those of the Berkeley Software Distribution as proprietary developers will then find it easier to adopt her standard in their products. If she wants to promote the use of open source software per se, she may use more restrictive license terms such as the General Public License to discourage proprietary appropriation of her effort. I show that open source software that comes late into a market will be less likely than more innovative open source software to be compatible with proprietary software, but is also more likely to be made more accessible to inexperienced users.

Keywords: Open Source, Software, Standards, Compatibility, Network Effects, Duopoly, Mixed Markets, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Licensing

JEL Classification: D23, H41, L13, L22, L31, L86, O34, O38

Suggested Citation

Gaudeul, Alexia, Open Source Licensing in Mixed Markets, or Why Open Source Software Does Not Succeed (July 29, 2008). CCP Working Paper No. 08-2, Available at SSRN: or

Alexia Gaudeul (Contact Author)

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
+49 (0) 551 39 7333 (Phone)


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