Evolutionary success of open source software: an investigation into exogenous drivers

Beecher, Karl and Boldyreff, Cornelia and Capiluppi, Andrea and Rank, Stephen (2008) Evolutionary success of open source software: an investigation into exogenous drivers. Electronic communications of the EASST, 8 . ISSN 1863-2122

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Evolutionary Success of Open Source Software: an Investigation into Exogenous Drivers
The “success” of a Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) project has often been evaluated through the number of commits made to its configuration management system, number of developers and number of users. Based on Source- Forge, most studies have concluded that the vast majority of projects are failures. This paper argues that the relative success of a FLOSS project can depend also on the chosen forge and distribution. Given a random sample of 50 projects contained within a popular FLOSS forge (Debian, which is the basis of the successful Debian distribution), we compare these with a similar sample from SourceForge, using product and process metrics, such as size achieved and number of developers involved. The results show firstly that, depending on the forge of FLOSS projects, researchers can draw different conclusions regarding what constitutes a successful FLOSS project. Secondly, the projects included in the Debian distribution benefit, on average, from more evolutionary activity and more developers than the comparable projects on SourceForge. Finally, the Debian projects start to benefit from more activity and more developers from the point at which they join this distribution.
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Abstract

The “success” of a Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) project has often been evaluated through the number of commits made to its configuration management system, number of developers and number of users. Based on SourceForge, most studies have concluded that the vast majority of projects are failures.

This paper argues that the relative success of a FLOSS project can depend also on the chosen forge and distribution. Given a random sample of 50 projects contained
within a popular FLOSS forge (Debian, which is the basis of the successful Debian distribution), we compare these with a similar sample from SourceForge, using product and process metrics, such as size achieved and number of developers involved.

The results show firstly that, depending on the forge of FLOSS projects, researchers can draw different conclusions regarding what constitutes a successful FLOSS project.
Secondly, the projects included in the Debian distribution benefit, on average, from more evolutionary activity and more developers than the comparable projects on
SourceForge. Finally, the Debian projects start to benefit from more activity and more developers from the point at which they join this distribution.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The “success” of a Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) project has often been evaluated through the number of commits made to its configuration management system, number of developers and number of users. Based on SourceForge, most studies have concluded that the vast majority of projects are failures. This paper argues that the relative success of a FLOSS project can depend also on the chosen forge and distribution. Given a random sample of 50 projects contained within a popular FLOSS forge (Debian, which is the basis of the successful Debian distribution), we compare these with a similar sample from SourceForge, using product and process metrics, such as size achieved and number of developers involved. The results show firstly that, depending on the forge of FLOSS projects, researchers can draw different conclusions regarding what constitutes a successful FLOSS project. Secondly, the projects included in the Debian distribution benefit, on average, from more evolutionary activity and more developers than the comparable projects on SourceForge. Finally, the Debian projects start to benefit from more activity and more developers from the point at which they join this distribution.
Keywords:software evolution, free software, metrics
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G600 Software Engineering
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:1608
Deposited By: Bev Jones
Deposited On:10 Jul 2008 05:34
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:29

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