Coordination practices for bug fixing within FLOSS development teams

TitleCoordination practices for bug fixing within FLOSS development teams
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsCrowston, K, Scozzi, B
Secondary Title1st International Workshop on Computer Supported Activity Coordination, 6th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
Place PublishedPorto, Portugal
Keywordsactivity, bug fixing, bug reports, bug tracker, coordination, downloads, dynapi, FLOSS, gaim, kicq, phpmyadmin, status

Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) 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. FLOSS development teams some how profit from the advantages and evade the challenges of distributed software development. Despite the relevance of the FLOSS both for research and practice, few studies have investigated the work practices adopted by these development teams. In this paper 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.


"First, we chose projects for which data we need for our analysis are publicly available (not all projects allow public access to the bug tracking system). Second, we chose teams with more than 8 members...we tried to select more and less suc- cessful development teams. To this aim we used the definitions of success proposed by [9], who suggest that a project is successful if it is active, the resulting software is downloaded and used and the code matures"

"Kicq, Gaim and PhPmyAdmin were chosen" - effective
DynAPI was chosen as an example of a less effective project"

"We collected data indicative of the success of each project, such as its level of activity, number of downloads and development status. We then collected data from the archives of the bug tracking system, the tool used to support the bug fixing process"

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