Prior characterizations of open source projects have been based on the model of a community-founded project. More recently, a second model has emerged, where organizations spinout internally developed code to a public forum. Based on field work on open source projects, we compare the lifecycle differences between these two models. We identify problems unique to spinout projects, particularly in attracting and building an external community. We illustrate these issues with a feasibility analysis of a proposed open source project based on VistA, the primary healthcare information system of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This example illuminates the complexities of building a community after a code base has been developed and suggests that open source software can be used to transfer technology to the private sector.
West, Joel and O’Mahony, Siobhán, "Contrasting Community Building in Sponsored and Community Founded Open Source Projects" (2005). Faculty Publications. Paper 2.