Bug Fixing Practices within Free/Libre Open Source Software Development Teams

TitleBug Fixing Practices within Free/Libre Open Source Software Development Teams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsCrowston, K, Scozzi, B
Secondary TitleJournal of Database Management
ISSN Number1063-8016
Keywordsactivity, bug tracker, bug tracking system, coordination, downloads, dynapi, effectiveness, FLOSS, gaim, kicq, phpmyadmin, project success, size, status

Free/libre open source software (FLOSS, e.g., Linux or Apache) is primarily developed by distributed teams. Developers contribute from around the world and coordinate their activity almost exclusively by means of email and bulletin boards, yet some how profit from the advantages and evade the challenges of distributed software development. In this article we investigate the structure and the coordination practices adopted by development teams during the bug-fixing process, which is considered one of main areas of FLOSS project success. In particular, based on a codification of the messages recorded in the bug tracking system of four projects, we identify the accomplished tasks, the adopted coordination mechanisms, and the role undertaken by both the FLOSS development team and the FLOSS community. We conclude with suggestions for further research.


"Projects to be studied were selected from those hosted on SourceForge, (http://sourceforge.net/)"
"we chose projects for which data we need for our analysis are publicly available, meaning a large number of bug reports"
"we chose teams with more than 8 developers"
"Only 140 projects of SourceForge met the first two requirements in 2002 when we drew our sample"
kicq, gaim, phpmyadmin, dynapi
"First, we obtained data indica- tive of the effectiveness of each project, such as its level of activity, number of downloads and development status"
"we elected to use objective data about the bug- fixing process. Hence, the main source of data about the bug-fixing process was obtained from the archives of the bug tracking system, which is the tool used to support the bug-fixing process"

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