Are All Open Source Projects Created Equal? Understanding the Sustainability of Open Source Software Development Model

TitleAre All Open Source Projects Created Equal? Understanding the Sustainability of Open Source Software Development Model
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsLong, J, Yuan, MJ
Secondary TitleAMCIS 2005 Proceedings
Keywordscontributors, core, developers, downloads, metadata, project success, sourceforge

A very intriguing question in Open Source software (OSS) development is: why there are only a few open source projects succeed, while the majority of projects never do. In this research, we examine the factors that may influence the performance of OSS projects. We particularly focus on the OSS’s core developers’ role in the project’s success. Extant research has yet to distinguish core developers and non-core developers from the community at large. The different roles of the core developers and non-core developers in OSS projects’ success still remain unclear. Our research contributes to the literature by separating the core developers from the development forces in general and empirically examining the core developers’ importance. Drawing the evidences from our extensive dataset of 300 open source projects, we demonstrated that core developers’ leadership and project advocation are crucial in determining the fate of the OSS projects. Our research could provide better understanding of OSS sustainability. It could also give practical advice to the OSS community on how to make the project successful.


uses first 300 most active projects on Sourceforge: 'Our data sample consists of 300 open source software development projects hosted in the Sourceforge.Net. They are the first 300 active projects ranked by Sourceforge.Net....Our dependent variable in the model to measure the success of the projects is the number of downloads. It is an essential variable to show how successful the project is. Generally, more number of downloads means a more successful project. Independent variables include: development status, project lifespan, number of developers, number of messages in the forums, number of mailing list, number of bug report, number of patch report, number of CVS report, number of file releases and also number of news release."

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