Thesis Opportunity: To Open Source or Not to Open Source

About two years ago, a company local to the Nuremberg area had to make a decision whether to open source their closed source enterprise software. This is a difficult decision: Does open sourcing mean you’ll lose your bread-winning revenue streams? Or will you open up new markets and win big? In this Master Thesis, you will retrace the steps of this company and how it came to make its decision. You will have to gather and review the underlying economic concepts that drive commercial open source. A core part of the thesis will the writing of a “business case” following the Harvard Business School Case Method [1] to illustrate the situation the company was facing. This case will be used in teaching Product Management at our university in the future [2].

Expected Work Results

  • Assessment of company situation
  • Interviews with CEO and chief product strategist
  • Analysis and evaluation of interviews
  • Evaluation of company situation
    • Review of literature and concepts on commercial open source
    • Application of learned concepts to situation at hand
  • Case writing of the situation
    • Lucid description (“story telling”) of situation company was facing
    • Creation of supplementary materials explaining concepts and decisions


    [1] See
    [2] See


    Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle, M.B.A.
    University of Erlangen


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