Understanding the Impressions, Motivations, and Barriers of One Time Code Contributors to FLOSS Projects: A Survey

TitleUnderstanding the Impressions, Motivations, and Barriers of One Time Code Contributors to FLOSS Projects: A Survey
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsLee, Amanda, Carver Jeffrey C., and Bosu Amiangshu
Secondary Title2017 IEEE/ACM 39th International Conference on Software Engineering
Pagination187-197
Date Published05/2017
Keywordsnewcomers, One Time Contributors, Qualitative Research, Survey
Abstract

Successful Free/Libre Open Source Software
(FLOSS) projects must attract and retain high-quality talent.
Researchers have invested considerable effort in the study of
core and peripheral FLOSS developers. To this point, one critical
subset of developers that have not been studied are One-Time
code Contributors (OTC) – those that have had exactly one patch
accepted. To understand why OTCs have not contributed another
patch and provide guidance to FLOSS projects on retaining
OTCs, this study seeks to understand the impressions, motivations,
and barriers experienced by OTCs. We conducted an online
survey of OTCs from 23 popular FLOSS projects. Based on the
184 responses received, we observed that OTCs generally have
positive impressions of their FLOSS project and are driven by a
variety of motivations. Most OTCs primarily made contributions
to fix bugs that impeded their work and did not plan on becoming
long term contributors. Furthermore, OTCs encounter a number
of barriers that prevent them from continuing to contribute to the
project. Based on our findings, there are some concrete actions
FLOSS projects can take to increase the chances of converting
OTCs into long-term contributors.