Kasper Edwards
Assistant Professor, Ph.D., M.Sc. (Eng).

Building 423
Phone: +45 4525 6010
Fax: +45 4588 1291
Email: edwards@ipl.dtu.dk

Conference on Product Configuration Systems

I'm part of a team organising a Conference on product configuration systems in a economic, technical and organisational perspective to be held in Copenhagen the 28-29 June 2004. The conference has so far attracted a number of interesting abstracts from european research insitutitions.
I intend to present the working paper Product configuration systems - implications for innovation and development with Jørgen Lindgaard Pedersen at the conference. Please observe that the paper is in its early stages and needs lots of work before its any good.

Three New Working Papers

I have been in writing mode regarding product configuration systems and this time its about product configuration systems and the implications for innovation. In particular, it is interesting to observe that some of firms implement product configuration systems with a single purpose in mind - much like a hammer for a nail. However, it would apperat that it is often the case that product configuration systems have effecte several other places in the organization and not just the intended place. This raises question regarding the management on innovation in firms, which was thought to be of great concern to a firm because it is the key to future survival. Contrary to my initial assumptions innovation is indeed influenced by product configuration systems but most of the effects are not anticipated... Please download the paper Technology Matters - When new technology reshape innovation. Any coments are welcome.

Staff who translates a customers requirements into product specifications is, depending on the product, doing a whole range of complex tasks. The sales staff must know the details of the products and the advantages of one configuration next to others when making the translation. Product configuration systems is a means of automating that particular knowledge work. Most often automation change the nature of a job by reducing the required knowledge as well as the required interaction with other departments in the firm. Thus it must be expected that product configuration systems result in lowered job satisfaction among the employees who's knowledge is automated. This paper Unexpected emergence of a Community of Practice when implementing Product Configuration Systems tests that very hypothesis and very unexpectedly comes to the opposite conclusion: Staff are actually very happy with the system and more satisfied with their jobs as the product configuration system provides a common platform for servicing customers. The paper is a working paper and due to be presented at the 9th International Conference on Human Aspects of Advanced Manufacturing: Agility & Hybrid Automation Tuesday 24th to Friday 27th August 2004, at National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, aka HAAMAHA04 .

The organisation of the project when implementing product configuration systems (PCS) is also a most interesting issue, which I have recently begun analysing. It would appear that PCS is a technology which improve coordination between departments and as such many of these departments will be affected by it. It also has the consequence that the projec organization responsible for designing and impmenting PCS must reflect this, which is not always trun in the projects I have analyzed. The purpose of this paper is to use the PRINCE2 project methodology as a tool for proposing an organizational setup for the various phases of a PCS project. Please download a very preliminary version of the paper Implementing Product Configuration Systems - Organising for Success. Any coments are welcome and check back in the future for new and more elaborate versions of the paper.

Paper on cost and benefits when using prodict configuration systems

A paper on expected and realised costs and benefits when implementing product configuration system can be found here. The project differs from other studies by using an interdisciplinary approach consisting of economics, technology and organisation. I have the responsibility for the economic part of the project. The paper has been submittet for the Design2004 conference in Dubrovnic.

New Project on Product Configuration Systems

Well its been a while since I have made any updates to this page and lots of things have happened. In February 2003 I got involved in a research project on product configuration systems. Basically this is a software for helping firms configure their products. More on the product configuration systems can be found a www.productmodels.org.

Thesis Defence

On Febrauary 6th I defended my Ph.D. theis on open source software. The defence was a great expereince for both me and the audience. A pdf version of the thesis can be found here and also the presentation.

Research on Leadership in Open Source Software Development

Im currently supervisor on a most interesting Masters Thesis on leadership in open source software development. The objective of the thesis is to uncover how leadership is percieved in open source software development. The study is undertaken by a brilliant Italian student Gianluca Bosco, who has managed to use implicite theories of leadership as a tool to uncover leadership. The study is done in two sessions: 1) Ask a number of people to list important attributes, which they associate with good leadership in open source software. 2) Analyse the attributes, create a questionair and realese the questionaire to a wide audience. Part one of the study is completed and the second i well underway. The results will be released as soon as a valid analysis has been performed, probably arround March/April. Please visit the questionaire site. Please take a look at the Thesis and enjoy the reading.

Paper: An Economic Perspective on Software Licenses - Incentives in Open Source Software

The mentioned paper was presented at the 8th anual CTI conference at the Center for TeleInformation. The paper draws from some of the work done in my Ph.D. thesis. The paper can be found here there is also a powerpoint presentation. The paper is forthcomming in Telematics and Informatics

Open Source Software

Open source software is one of the most fashinating phenomenons. Open source software seem to be one of the most changes to the way software are being produced and consumed. Most software of today are sold under strict licensing terms and the software vendor profit from licensing fees. As the cost of distributing is negligent the software business is often a very profitable business.

Open source turnes this business model upside down. Open source software allows anybody to distribute and make modifications to the software thus the license does not support a business model focused on selling licenses. Open source software licenses support a business model like the ones used in the manufacturing and service industries. It is a business model where buyers pay for having a specific product produced or for service in terms of maintanence and customization.

Wide adoption of open source software could have profund impact on the software industries with less monopolies and more small and medium sized business focusing on competence in niches. Below are some of the papers I have written on the subject. As a side effect of studying open source software I became intersted in the history of Unix and a paper on this subject is also below. Unix is one of the first examples of software development sharing some of the same characteristics as open source software. Unix never was open source and was provided free of charge with source code only because AT&T was not allowed to do other business then phone business. As soon as AT&T was allowed to make money in 1982 they changed the license and charged for Unix

My Ph.d. project is titled "Technological Innovation in software industry". The mane of the thesis is more than likely to change as the aim of the thesis has drifted somewhat since the project was drafted. While not focusing on the software industry, the aim of the thesis is to provide a reasonable explanation for the existence for open source software. Open source software is software that comes with source code and anybody are allowed to modify, copy and distribute the source.

This raises many questions: Why do people and firms contribute when anybody can distribute the software? How do developers coordinate their efforts? From an economic point of view developers of open source software are providing the fruits of their labour for free to anyone interested. It might even be suggested that the open source software are providing a public good. Theory of public goods would predict that there would be severe problems poviding the open source software good. However, evidence are to the contriary.

The thesis will try to answer the question: Why is open source software being developed? In course of doing so the development process of open source software will be descibed. Should you have interest in the project or any inside information I would be happy to know.

Besides my interenst in open source software I am currently involved in the GoodNIP project, which is about documenting and analysing nordic innovation practices.

Small presentation in Witten, Germany

I had the plesure of being invitet the the private University of Witten, Germany. The presentation was about the implications of understanding open source software as special type of economic externality. The powerpoint presentation of the speech can be found here. The presentation was interesting and a lot of thoughtful comments were given about the framework of understanding open source software as a particular type of economic externality. As a result the framework has been reworked and replaced by a model for understanding open source software development. The model will be part of my upcomming thesis and wont be described in detail just yet. However, the model builds on externalities and explains the relationship between behaviour and open source software licenses.

Presentation at FM-Con1

I had the pleasure of presenting some of my thoughts on open source software on the first FirstMonday conference held in Maarstricht on the 4-6 November 2001. My PowerPoint presentation can be found here. More info on the conference can be found on FirstMonday's website.


For those interested, the references that has been used in the project are found here. The references contain all - well most - of the litterature, articles and webpages that have been examined in this project. The refrences contains links, full refrence and often a few comments.


The paper "Epistemic Communities, Situated Learning and Open Source Software Development" was presented at the conferens: "Epistemic Cultures and the Practice of Interdisciplinarity" at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Comments are very velcome.

Exam and Paper

On thursday the 10th of May a so called knowledge test was held over the paper "Towards a Theory for Understanding the Open Source Software Phenomenon", which is also the title of a new paper, which may be downloaded here.

Paper Published in FirstMonday

In the October 2000 issue of FirstMonday the paper When Beggars Become Choosers was accepted
The paper is a critique of the understanding of leadership presentet by Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole in the paper The Simple Economics of Open Source.

Talks and presentations

Slides from talk given at CTI, thursday 13 April 2000, regarding the Standardisation of Unix and Linu; download a PDF-version or a postscript-version or as plain text.

VHS vs. Betamax

I have an interst in the area of competing technologies and in particular the story of VHS vs. Betamax is interesting. My masters thesis was about that very subject and can be found here. Please note that the thesis is in Danish. I not sure that the thesis will ever be translated :).

Early papers related to my Ph.d. study

Opdateret d. 22.5.2004