Herding Cats: A Case Study of Release Management in an Open Collaboration Ecosystem

  • Germán Poo-CaamañoEmail author
  • Leif Singer
  • Eric Knauss
  • Daniel M. German
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 472)


Release management in large-scale software development projects requires significant communication and coordination. It is particularly challenging in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) ecosystems, in which hundreds of loosely connected developers and their projects need to be coordinated to release software to a schedule. To better understand this process and its challenges, we analyzed over two and half years of communication in the GNOME ecosystem and studied developers’ interactions. We cataloged communication channels, categorized high level communication and coordination activities in one of them, and triangulated our results by interviewing developers. We found that a release schedule, influence instead of direct control, and diversity are factors that impact positively the release process in the GNOME ecosystem. Our results can help organizations build better large-scale teams and show that research focused on individual projects might miss important parts of the picture.


Application Program Interface Mailing List Release Cycle Release Management External Dependency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Germán Poo-Caamaño
    • 1
    Email author
  • Leif Singer
    • 1
  • Eric Knauss
    • 2
  • Daniel M. German
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Chalmers | University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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