A Social Network Approach To Free/Open Source Software Simulation

TitleA Social Network Approach To Free/Open Source Software Simulation
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsWagstrom, PA, Herbsleb, J, Carley, K
Secondary TitleOSS2005: Open Source Systems
Keywordsemail, mailing list, social network analysis

Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) development is a complex process that is just beginning to be understood. The actual development process is frequently characterized as disparate volunteer developers collaborating to create a piece of software. The developers of F/OSS, like most software engineers, spend a significant portion of their time fostering collaboration through various channels social communication. We have analyzed several methods of communication; a social networking site, project mailing lists, and developer weblogs; to gain an understanding of the social network structure behind F/OSS projects. This social network data was used to create a model of F/OSS development that allows for multiple projects, users, and developers with varying goals and socialization methods. Using this model we have been able to replicate some of the known phenomena observed in F/OSS and provide a first step in the creation of a robust model of F/OSS.


"Second, we use mailing list archives for three different projects. This gives us a more stringent network measure, since links are generated only when one developer communicates directly with another."

"The mailing lists were the developers list from a well deployed database server, the general list for an text and file processing library, and the general list for a smaller F/OSS web browser."

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