Hacking Alone?: The Effects of Online and Offline Participation on Open Source Community Leadership
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Overview: One type of online community that has experienced unprecedented growth since the word open source was coined in the spring of 1998, are open source software communities. An open source software project faces even greater problems of governance than typical online communities, as leaders have responsibilities that extend beyond mailing list and account management to managing release dates, representing the project to the public and collaborating with firms. This research paper from Harvard Business School examines the face-to-face network of an open source community that began online and, ten years later, still operates primarily in cyberspace: the Debian Linux distribution project.