Identifying exogenous drivers and evolutionary stages in FLOSS projects

TitleIdentifying exogenous drivers and evolutionary stages in FLOSS projects
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBeecher, K, Capiluppi, A, Boldyreff, C
Secondary TitleJournal of Systems and Software
Pagination739 - 750
ISSN Number0164-1212
Keywordsdevelopers, forge, forges, repositories, repository, scm, software repositories, sourceforge, success, users

The success of a Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) project has been evaluated in the past through the number of commits made to its configuration management system, number of developers and number of users. Most studies, based on a popular FLOSS repository (SourceForge), have concluded that the vast majority of projects are failures. This study's empirical results confirm and expand conclusions from an earlier and more limited work. Not only do projects from different repositories display different process and product characteristics, but a more general pattern can be observed. Projects may be considered as early inceptors in highly visible repositories, or as established projects within desktop-wide projects, or finally as structured parts of FLOSS distributions. These three possibilities are formalized into a framework of transitions between repositories. The framework developed here provides a wider context in which results from FLOSS repository mining can be more effectively presented. Researchers can draw different conclusions based on the overall characteristics studied about an Open Source software project's potential for success, depending on the repository that they mine. These results also provide guidance to OSS developers when choosing where to host their project and how to distribute it to maximize its evolutionary success.

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