Survey Provides New Insights Into 'Hacker' Culture

BCG Study Highlights Factors Contributing to Success of Open Source Software



Findings May Lead to Improved Overall Business Effectiveness



Jan 31, 2002, 00:00 ET from The Boston Consulting Group

    NEW YORK, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- A recently completed survey of the Open
 Source Software (OSS) community provides insight into employee motivation and
 the development of resource models, according tithe Boston Consulting Group
 (BCG).   The survey conducted online interviews with 526 OSS community members
 who are registered users of SourceForge.net, the world's largest Open Source
 development Web site.  The study was released today in a presentation at the
 Linux World meeting in New York City.  It is available online at www.bcg.com
 and at www.osdn.com/bcg.
     "Members of the Open Source Software communities have created robust
 products such as the Linux operating system and Apache Web server which have
 captured significant market share from their commercial competitors," said
 Karim R. Lakhani, a consultant at BCG, a doctoral student at MIT's Sloan
 School of Management, and coauthor of the survey.  "This survey highlights the
 motivation factors that contribute to the success of Open Source Software-
 factors that can be adapted to improve a company's intellectual capital and
 its innovation and product development processes."
     These OSS contributors self-identify as "hackers."  A hacker, as defined
 by Eric Raymond, a major voice in the Open Source community, in his New Hacker
 Dictionary, is someone who enjoys exploring the details of programmable
 systems and who is good at programming quickly, rather than a malicious
 meddler who pokes around for sensitive information-the correct term for this
 person is "cracker."
     "This survey shows that intellectual stimulation, or pure enjoyment, seems
 to be the primary motivating factor for this fervor, followed closely by a
 desire to improve one's skills," said Bob Wolf, a senior manager at BCG and
 coauthor of the survey.  "Imagine the competitive advantage that awaits a
 company that achieves this level of motivation across all of its core
 processes." Wolf went on to say that "this survey has created a fact base for
 understanding self-organizing communities in general and Open Source
 communities in particular."
     "We are excited to be working with The Boston Consulting Group on this
 research initiative," said Jeff "hemos" Bates, Director of OSDN Online.
 "Although the Open Source movement has existed for several years, the business
 implications of this movement have never been adequately analyzed."
     "I've estimated that large organizations typically operate at something
 like 10-20 percent of their creative potential, measured by their actual
 accomplishments in peak situations compared with their accomplishments on an
 average Tuesday afternoon. It's worth considering whether the Open Source
 model responds to that and other possible corporate shortcomings," notes Bob
 Shapiro, the former CEO of Monsanto and retired chairman of Pharmacia and now
 a senior advisor to BCG.
     "In fact, there already are some examples of companies that are
 successfully following approaches evident in OSS," Mark Blaxill, a senior vice
 president at BCG said.   "IBM has embraced the Open Source movement,
 simultaneously increasing the credibility of Linux and promoting its own
 position.  By allowing consumers of its Mindstorm toy robot to rewrite its
 operating system and programming language, Lego increased the functionality to
 the user and outperformed its initial sales forecasts.  Similarly, Harley
 Davidson relinquished control of its brand to its biker community, with
 overwhelmingly positive results.  Even industrial products companies have
 created value by more dynamically linking networks of experts to increase the
 efficiency and utilization of their operations."
 
     Wolf and Lakhani note the following key findings from the survey:
     -- Participants note extremely high levels of creativity in their
 projects, with 63 percent indicating that their current project contributions
 were at least as creative as anything they have ever done.
     -- Having fun (43 percent of respondents ranked as top 3 motivator),
 enhancing skills (43 percent), desire to support the OS community (34
 percent), and user needs (personal at 30 percent; professional also at 30
 percent) drive contributions to the Open Source community. Defeating
 proprietary software companies is not a major motivator.
     -- The Open Source community is truly global in composition with
 respondents coming from 35 countries.
     -- Most participants dedicate at least 10 hours per week in their shared
 programming efforts.
     -- While some hackers are students or academics, most contributors are
 skilled IT professionals (56 percent).  The average programming experience of
 the sample was more than 10 years.
 
     About The Boston Consulting Group
     The Boston Consulting Group is a general management consulting firm that
 is a global leader in business strategy. BCG has helped companies in every
 major industry and market achieve a competitive advantage by developing and
 implementing unique strategies. Founded in 1963, the firm now operates 52
 offices in 34 countries. For further information, please visit our Web site at
 www.bcg.com.
 
     About OSDN
     OSDN, the Open Source Development Network, a subsidiary of VA Software, is
 the leading news, collaboration, and distribution community for IT and Open
 Source development, implementation, and innovation. Each month, more than 5
 million IT professionals, developers and systems administrators visit OSDN
 destinations, which deliver more than 110 million page views per month. OSDN
 sites offer IT news, development tools, distribution and discussion channels,
 cutting-edge editorial, and ongoing education and evangelism among the IT and
 Open Source community. For information on OSDN please visit www.osdn.com.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X41344863
 
 

SOURCE The Boston Consulting Group
    NEW YORK, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- A recently completed survey of the Open
 Source Software (OSS) community provides insight into employee motivation and
 the development of resource models, according tithe Boston Consulting Group
 (BCG).   The survey conducted online interviews with 526 OSS community members
 who are registered users of SourceForge.net, the world's largest Open Source
 development Web site.  The study was released today in a presentation at the
 Linux World meeting in New York City.  It is available online at www.bcg.com
 and at www.osdn.com/bcg.
     "Members of the Open Source Software communities have created robust
 products such as the Linux operating system and Apache Web server which have
 captured significant market share from their commercial competitors," said
 Karim R. Lakhani, a consultant at BCG, a doctoral student at MIT's Sloan
 School of Management, and coauthor of the survey.  "This survey highlights the
 motivation factors that contribute to the success of Open Source Software-
 factors that can be adapted to improve a company's intellectual capital and
 its innovation and product development processes."
     These OSS contributors self-identify as "hackers."  A hacker, as defined
 by Eric Raymond, a major voice in the Open Source community, in his New Hacker
 Dictionary, is someone who enjoys exploring the details of programmable
 systems and who is good at programming quickly, rather than a malicious
 meddler who pokes around for sensitive information-the correct term for this
 person is "cracker."
     "This survey shows that intellectual stimulation, or pure enjoyment, seems
 to be the primary motivating factor for this fervor, followed closely by a
 desire to improve one's skills," said Bob Wolf, a senior manager at BCG and
 coauthor of the survey.  "Imagine the competitive advantage that awaits a
 company that achieves this level of motivation across all of its core
 processes." Wolf went on to say that "this survey has created a fact base for
 understanding self-organizing communities in general and Open Source
 communities in particular."
     "We are excited to be working with The Boston Consulting Group on this
 research initiative," said Jeff "hemos" Bates, Director of OSDN Online.
 "Although the Open Source movement has existed for several years, the business
 implications of this movement have never been adequately analyzed."
     "I've estimated that large organizations typically operate at something
 like 10-20 percent of their creative potential, measured by their actual
 accomplishments in peak situations compared with their accomplishments on an
 average Tuesday afternoon. It's worth considering whether the Open Source
 model responds to that and other possible corporate shortcomings," notes Bob
 Shapiro, the former CEO of Monsanto and retired chairman of Pharmacia and now
 a senior advisor to BCG.
     "In fact, there already are some examples of companies that are
 successfully following approaches evident in OSS," Mark Blaxill, a senior vice
 president at BCG said.   "IBM has embraced the Open Source movement,
 simultaneously increasing the credibility of Linux and promoting its own
 position.  By allowing consumers of its Mindstorm toy robot to rewrite its
 operating system and programming language, Lego increased the functionality to
 the user and outperformed its initial sales forecasts.  Similarly, Harley
 Davidson relinquished control of its brand to its biker community, with
 overwhelmingly positive results.  Even industrial products companies have
 created value by more dynamically linking networks of experts to increase the
 efficiency and utilization of their operations."
 
     Wolf and Lakhani note the following key findings from the survey:
     -- Participants note extremely high levels of creativity in their
 projects, with 63 percent indicating that their current project contributions
 were at least as creative as anything they have ever done.
     -- Having fun (43 percent of respondents ranked as top 3 motivator),
 enhancing skills (43 percent), desire to support the OS community (34
 percent), and user needs (personal at 30 percent; professional also at 30
 percent) drive contributions to the Open Source community. Defeating
 proprietary software companies is not a major motivator.
     -- The Open Source community is truly global in composition with
 respondents coming from 35 countries.
     -- Most participants dedicate at least 10 hours per week in their shared
 programming efforts.
     -- While some hackers are students or academics, most contributors are
 skilled IT professionals (56 percent).  The average programming experience of
 the sample was more than 10 years.
 
     About The Boston Consulting Group
     The Boston Consulting Group is a general management consulting firm that
 is a global leader in business strategy. BCG has helped companies in every
 major industry and market achieve a competitive advantage by developing and
 implementing unique strategies. Founded in 1963, the firm now operates 52
 offices in 34 countries. For further information, please visit our Web site at
 www.bcg.com.
 
     About OSDN
     OSDN, the Open Source Development Network, a subsidiary of VA Software, is
 the leading news, collaboration, and distribution community for IT and Open
 Source development, implementation, and innovation. Each month, more than 5
 million IT professionals, developers and systems administrators visit OSDN
 destinations, which deliver more than 110 million page views per month. OSDN
 sites offer IT news, development tools, distribution and discussion channels,
 cutting-edge editorial, and ongoing education and evangelism among the IT and
 Open Source community. For information on OSDN please visit www.osdn.com.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X41344863
 
 SOURCE  The Boston Consulting Group