Evolution patterns of open-source software systems and communities

TitleEvolution patterns of open-source software systems and communities
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsNakakoji, K, Yamamoto, Y, Nishinaka, Y, Kishida, K, Ye, Y
Secondary TitleProceedings of the International Workshop on Principles of Software Evolution
Place PublishedNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number1-58113-545-9
Keywordscase study, open-source software (OSS), open-source software community, software evolution

Open-Source Software (OSS) development is regarded as a successful model of encouraging "natural product evolution". To understand how this "natural product evolution" happens, we have conducted a case study of four typical OSS projects. Unlike most previous studies on software evolution that focus on the evolution of the system per se, our study takes a broader perspective: It examines not only the evolution of OSS systems, but also the evolution of the associated OSS communities, as well as the relationship between the two types of evolution.Through the case study, we have found that while collaborative development within a community is the essential characteristic of OSS, different collaboration models exist, and that the difference in collaboration model results in different evolution patterns of OSS systems and communities. To treat such differences systematically, we propose to classify OSS into three types: Exploration-Oriented, Utility-Oriented, and Service-Oriented. Such a classification can provide guidance on the creation and maintenance of sustainable OSS development and communities.

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