Companies' Participation in OSS Development - An Empirical Study of OpenStack
Commercial participation continues to grow in open source software (OSS) projects and novel arrangements appear to emerge in company-dominated projects and ecosystems. What is the nature of these novel arrangements’ Does volunteers’ participation remain critical for these ecosystems’ Despite extensive research on commercial participation in OSS, the exact nature and extent of company contributions to OSS development, and the impact of this engagement may have on the volunteer community have not been clarified. To bridge the gap, we perform an exploratory study of OpenStack: a large OSS ecosystem with intense commercial participation. We quantify companies’ contributions via the developers that they provide and the commits made by those developers. We find that companies made far more contributions than volunteers and the distribution of the contributions made by different companies is also highly unbalanced. We observe eight unique contribution models based on companies’ commercial objectives and characterize each model according to three dimensions: contribution intensity, extent, and focus. Companies providing full cloud solutions tend to make both intensive (more than other companies) and extensive (involving a wider variety of projects) contributions. Usage-oriented companies make extensive but less intense contributions. Companies driven by particular business needs focus their contributions on the specific projects addressing these needs. Minor contributors include community players (e.g., the Linux Foundation) and research groups. A model relating the number of volunteers to the diversity of contribution, shows a strong positive association between them.