An Exploratory Study on the Evolution of OSS Developer Communities

TitleAn Exploratory Study on the Evolution of OSS Developer Communities
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsNgamkajornwiwat, K, Zhang, D, Koru, GA, Zhou, L, and Nolker, R
Secondary TitleProceedings of the 41st Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2008)
Pagination305 - 305
Place PublishedWaikoloa, HI, USA

Software is developed in a dynamic context where team structure, requirements, and processes evolve together with the product. Although researchers have been studying the evolution of software systems since the early 70s, the study on the evolution of software development teams remains rare. Such evolutionary patterns and their impact on software quality are especially important in the context of OSS (Open Source Software) development, where a group of volunteer developers collaborate online for an extended period of time. By analyzing how social networks of developers evolve over time while building OSS products, we can gain knowledge and experience to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of resource management and distribution in future OSS projects. To this end, we studied the evolution of the developer communities using a suite of OSS products developed under the KOffice project. We found that in general, the social networks of OSS developer communities change over time in certain ways. Identifying such patterns can help OSS managers better understand the unique process of OSS development and improve their management and coordination of the projects.

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