Measuring the evolution of open source software systems with their communities

TitleMeasuring the evolution of open source software systems with their communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWang, Y, Guo, D, Shi, H
Secondary TitleSIGSOFT Softw. Eng. Notes
Date PublishedNovember
Place PublishedNew York, NY, USA
ISSN Number0163-5948
Keywordsevolution, launchpad, metrics, open source community, open source software, Ubuntu

Open Source Software (OSS) has become the subject of much commercial and academic interest in last few years. As traditional software, OSS also evolves to fulfill the need of stakeholders. Therefore, providing quantitative metrics for OSS evolution has also become an urgent issue. However, most existing studies of software evolution have been performed on systems developed within a single company using traditional management techniques. These metrics models are inadequate to measure OSS evolution. In this paper, we describe a preliminary evolution metrics set for evaluating OSS. The most significant novelty of this model is that it takes specific properties of Open Source Community (OSC) into consideration. In another word, we measure the evolution of OSS and OSC together. We also provide a lightweight case study on Ubuntu project using this metrics set. We find out that the Open Source Community and its members also play essential role in OSS evolution. We expect this metrics model can bring better understandings and explanations of phenomena in open source development and evolution.


"1. M1: The number of modules in software system at a series of specific moment.
2. CD: The number of developers (code contributors) at a series of specific moment.
3. MC: The correlation of M1 and CD."
"We get the information of Modules from the Launchpad[1] which is a distributed collaborative infrastructure for Ubuntu and other open source software development. Ubuntu mainly grows though a manner of adding new packages. So, we treat packages as the modules we mention before. In Ubuntu community, some members are in charge of auditing the packages and add them to Ubuntu, here developers are refers them."

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