Opening The Code: Software Excellence As A Function Of Its Development Environment

TitleOpening The Code: Software Excellence As A Function Of Its Development Environment
Publication TypeUnpublished
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsMcLaughlin, D
Date PublishedJanuary

Software is an increasingly important component of the modern world; indeed, software forms the architecture around which today?s digital society is built. Because of the complex interrelationship between computer code, liberty, and the distribution of power in society, the environment in which code is produced makes a tremendous difference in the resulting structure of the world. An "Open" foundation for software development provides a variety of economic and societal benefits, but there are a number of preconditions necessary for its full deployment. One of the primary stumbling blocks is the need for the Open development process to demonstrate its capacity for producing "excellent" software. This thesis tackles that obstacle by first defining excellence in software, and then examining the software ecosystems that surround proprietary and Open Source conceptions of digital property in terms of their incentive structures–incentives that either encourage or discourage quality. Herein, this thesis demonstrates that not only can an Open Source development model produce quality software, but it also takes advantage of the complex adaptive systems model of diversity and adaptation to better meet the established criteria of an "ideal" software development system.

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