Correlating temporal communication patterns of the Eclipse open source community with performance and creativity

TitleCorrelating temporal communication patterns of the Eclipse open source community with performance and creativity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsKidane, Y, Gloor, P
Secondary TitleComputational & Mathematical Organization Theory
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISSN Number1381-298X
Other Numbers10.1007/s10588-006-9006-3
Keywordsbug fixing, bugs, bugzilla, communication, creativity, developers, eclipse, email, email archives, feature requests, mailing lists, performance, productivity

This paper studies the temporal communication patterns of online communities of developers and users of the open source Eclipse Java development environment. It measures the productivity of each community and seeks to identify correlations that exist between group communication characteristics and productivity attributes. The study uses the TeCFlow (Temporal Communication Flow) visualizer to create movie maps of the knowledge flow by analyzing the publicly accessible Eclipse developer mailing lists as an approximation of the social networks of developers and users. Thirty-three different Eclipse communities discussing development and use of components of Eclipse such as the Java Development Tools, the different platform components, the C/C++ Development Tools and the AspectJ extension have been analyzed over a period of six months. The temporal evolution of social network variables such as betweenness centrality, density, contribution index, and degree have been computed and plotted. Productivity of each development group is measured in terms of two indices, namely performance and creativity. Performance of a group is defined as the ratio of new bugs submitted compared with bugs fixed within the same period of time. Creativity is calculated as a function of new features proposed and implemented. Preliminary results indicate that there is a correlation between attributes of social networks such as density and betweenness centrality and group productivity measures in an open source development community. We also find a positive correlation between changes over time in betweenness centrality and creativity, and a negative correlation between changes in betweenness centrality and performance.


"Social network data was collected from the Eclipse component development groups’ online mailing lists by using the online process tool (Gloor and Zhao, 2004). Data on bugs and enhancements for each group was collected from the Eclipse bugzilla database (Eclipse bugzilla, 2004). The social network data was analyzed with the TeCFlow tool (Gloor and Zhao, 2004)."
"The study is based on data from the three main projects of the Eclipse open source development community, namely “eclipse”, “tools” and “technology”. We have chosen thirty-three different component development groups for analysis."
"The online process tool (online process tool, 2004) was utilized to collect communication data from their mailing list archives. The online process tool runs a robot that searches for URLs in the projects’ mailing list archives to compile a list of the possible URL links. It then extracts communication data as tuples in the form of “sender, receiver, communication type, timestamp, communication contents” and stores it in the database. Further, bugs and enhancement data were collected from the Eclipse bugzilla database."

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