A year’s research on Novell and the openSUSE project is now published as a master’s thesis at the University of Oslo. “Managing Firm-Sponsored Open Source Communities” details the collaboration between Novell and the openSUSE community. Community members and employees in Novell have participated in the study.
The study deals with the tension between openness and control often found in projects that mesh corporate entities with the open source community. On the one hand, Novell wants to enable participation and contributions from external contributors, but cannot turn over full control to the community because it produces its enterprise product from openSUSE.
The study finds that the relationship between the community and Novell is evolving rapidly, and how the relationship works and where it may go.
A summary of the study, the full thesis, and pictures are available at Jan Fredrik’s Weblog.