Governance in Open Source Software Development Projects: A Comparative Multi-level Analysis

  • Chris Jensen
  • Walt Scacchi
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 319)

Abstract

Open source software (OSS) development is a community-oriented, network-centric approach to building complex software systems. OSS projects are typically organized as edge organizations lacking an explicit management regime to control and coordinate decentralized project work. However, a growing number of OSS projects are developing, delivering, and supporting large-scale software systems, displacing proprietary software alternatives. Recent empirical studies of OSS projects reveal that OSS developers often self-organize into organizational forms we characterize as evolving socio-technical interaction networks (STINs). STINs emerge in ways that effectively control semi-autonomous OSS developers and coordinate project activities, producing reliable and adaptive software systems. In this paper, we examine how practices and processes enable and govern OSS projects when coalesced and configured as contingent, socio-technical interaction networks. We draw on data sources and results from two ongoing case studies of governance activities and elements in a large OSS project.

References

  1. 1.
    Augustin, L., Bressler, D., Smith, G.: Accelerating Software Development through Collaboration. In: Proc. 24th Intern. Conf. Software Engineering, pp. 559–563. IEEE Computer Society, Orlando (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baldwin, C.Y., Clark, K.B.: The architecture of participation: Does code architecture mitigate free riding in the open source development model? Management Science 52(7), 1116–1127 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cusumano, M., Yoffe, D.: Software Development on Internet Time. Computer 32(10), 60–69 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    de Laat, P.B.: Evolution of open source networks in industry. The Information Society 20(4), 291–299 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    de Laast, P.B.: Governance of open source software: state of the art. J. Management and Governance 11(2), 165–177 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Elliott, M., Scacchi, W.: Free Software Development: Cooperation and Conflict in A Virtual Organizational Culture. In: Koch, S. (ed.) Free/Open Source Software Development, pp. 152–172. Idea Publishing, Pittsburgh (2005)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elliott, M., Ackerman, M., Scacchi, W.: Knowledge Work Artifacts: Kernel Cousins for Free/Open Source Software Development. In: Proc. ACM Conf. Support Group Work (Group 2007), Sanibel Island, FL, pp. 177–186 (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    FOSSBazaar,org., https://fossbazaar.org (last accessed September 2, 2008)
  9. 9.
    Franck, E., Jungwirth, C.: Reconciling rent-seekers and donators –The governance structure of open source. J. Management and Governance 7(4), 401–421 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    German, D.: The GNOME project: a case study of open source, global software development. Software Process–Improvement and Practice 8(4), 201–215 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jensen, C., Scacchi, W.: Process Modeling of the Web Information Infrastructure. Software Process–Improvement and Practice 10(3), 255–272 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jensen, C., Scacchi, W.: Role Migration and Advancement Processes in OSSD Projects: A Comparative Case Study. In: Proc. 29th. Intern. Conf. Software Engineering, pp. 364–374. IEEE Computer Society, Minneapolis (2007)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lee, C.: Boundary Negotiating Artifacts: Unbinding the Routine of Boundary Objects and Embracing Chaos in Collaborative Work. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 16(3), 307–339 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Markus, M.L.: The governance of free/open source software projects: monolithic, multidimensional, or configurational? J. Management. and Governance 11(2), 151–163 (2007)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    O’Mahony, S.: The governance of open source initiatives: what does it mean to be community managed? J. Management and Governance 11(2), 139–150 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    O’ Mahony, S., Ferraro, F.: The Emergence of Governance in an Open Source Community. Academy of Management J. 50(5), 1079–1106 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ovaska, P., Rossi, M., Marttiin, P.: Architecture as a Coordination Tool in Multi-Site Software Development. Software Process–Improvement and Practice 8(4), 233–247 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Scacchi, W.: Free/Open Source Software Development: Recent Research Results and Emerging Opportunities. In: Proc. European Software Engineering Conference and ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, Dubrovnik, Croatia, September 2007, pp. 459–468 (2007b)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Schmidt, K., Simone, C.: Coordination Mechanisms: Towards a Conceptual Foundation of CSCW System Design. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 5(2-3), 155–200 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Simone, C., Mark, G.: Interoperability as a Means of Articulation Work. In: Proc. Intern. Joint Conf. on Work Activities Coordination and Collaboration, San Francisco, CA, pp. 39–48. ACM Press, New York (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Strauss, A.: The Articulation of Project Work: An Organizational Process. The Sociological Quarterly 29(2), 163–178 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Shah, S.K.: Motivation, governance and the viability of hybrid forms in open source software development. Management Science 52(7), 1000–1014 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    NetBeans Issuezilla Issue Repository, http://www.netbeans.org/community/issues.html (last accessed November 28, 2009)
  24. 24.
    NetBeans Community Guidelines, http://www.netbeans.org/community/guidelines (last accessed November 27, 2009)
  25. 25.
    Workshop Summary: Software Development Governance 2008, http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/~yael/SDG2008/ (last accessed December 20, 2008)

Copyright information

© IFIP 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Jensen
    • 1
  • Walt Scacchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Software ResearchUniversity of California, IrvineIrvine

Personalised recommendations