The Merits of a Meritocracy in Open Source Software Ecosystems

TitleThe Merits of a Meritocracy in Open Source Software Ecosystems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsEckhardt, Evert, Kaats Erwin, Jansen Slinger, and Alves Carina
Secondary TitleProceedings of the 2014 European Conference on Software Architecture Workshops
Place PublishedNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4503-2778-7
KeywordsEcosystem Health, Meritocracy, open source, Software ecosystems

The Eclipse open source ecosystem has grown from a small internal IBM project to one of the biggest Integrated Development Environments in the market. Open source communities and ecosystems do not follow the standard governance strategies typically used in large organizations. A meritocracy is a frequently occurring form of governance on different levels in open ecosystems. In this paper we investigate how this form of governance influences the health of projects within the Eclipse ecosystem in terms of the amount of commits within each month. We analyzed the hierarchy of Eclipse, how merits are conceptualized within the ecosystem and the effect of the appointments of mentors and project leads on the amount of commits. From our research, we can conclude that this system is not always as fair as it seems; merits are only a benefit in some cases.