Barriers Faced by Newcomers to Open Source Projects: A Systematic Review

  • Igor Steinmacher
  • Marco Aurélio Graciotto Silva
  • Marco Aurélio Gerosa
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 427)

Abstract

To remain sustainable, some open source projects need a constant influx of new volunteers, or newcomers. However, the newcomers face different kinds of problems when onboarding to a project. In this paper we present the results of a systematic literature review aiming at identifying the barriers that a newcomer can face when contributing to an Open Source Software project. We identified and analyzed 21 studies that evidence this kind of problem. As a result we provide a hierarchical model that relies on five categories of barriers: finding a way to start, social interactions, code issues, documentation problems and newcomers’ knowledge. The most evidenced barriers are newcomers’ previous technical skills, receiving response from community, centrality of social contacts, and finding the appropriate way to start contributing. This classification provides a baseline for further researches related to newcomers onboarding.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Ben, X., Beijun, S., Weicheng, Y.: Mining developer contribution in open source software using visualization techniques. In: 3rd Intl. Conf. on Intelligent System Design and Engineering Applications (ISDEA), pp. 934–937 (2013)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bird, C.: Sociotechnical coordination and collaboration in open source software. In: 2011 27th IEEE Intl. Conf. on Software Maintenance, pp. 568–573. IEEE CS (2011)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bird, C., Gourley, A., Devanbu, P., Swaminathan, A., Hsu, G.: Open borders? immigration in open source projects. In: 4th Intl. Workshop on Mining Software Repositories, p. 6 (2007)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Canfora, G., Di Penta, M., Oliveto, R., Panichella, S.: Who is going to mentor newcomers in open source projects. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGSOFT 20th Intl. Symposium on the Foundations of Soft. Eng., FSE 2012, Cary, NC (2012)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Capiluppi, A., Michlmayr, M.: From the cathedral to the bazaar: An empirical study of the lifecycle of volunteer community projects. In: Feller, J., Fitzgerald, B., Scacchi, W., Sillitti, A. (eds.) Open Source Development, Adoption and Innovation. IFIP, vol. 234, pp. 31–44. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cubranic, D., Murphy, G., Singer, J., Booth, K.: Hipikat: a project memory for software development. IEEE Transactions on Soft. Eng. 31(6), 446–465 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cubranic, D., Murphy, G.C.: Hipikat: recommending pertinent software development artifacts. In: 25th Intl. Conf. on Soft. Eng., pp. 408–418 (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dagenais, B., Ossher, H., Bellamy, R.K.E., Robillard, M.P., de Vries, J.P.: Moving into a new software project landscape. In: 32nd Intl. Conf. on Soft. Eng., vol. 1, pp. 275–284 (2010)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ducheneaut, N.: Socialization in an open source software community: A socio-technical analysis. Comput. Supported Coop. Work 14(4), 323–368 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    He, P., Li, B., Huang, Y.: Applying centrality measures to the behavior analysis of developers in open source software community. In: 2nd Intl. Conf. on Cloud and Green Computing (CGC), pp. 418–423 (November 2012)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jensen, C., King, S., Kuechler, V.: Joining free/open source software communities: An analysis of newbies’ first interactions on project mailing lists. In: 44th Intl.I Intl. Conf. on System Sciences (HICSS), pp. 1–10 (January 2011)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Midha, V., Palvia, P., Singh, R., Kshetri, N.: Improving open source software maintenance. Journal of Computer Information Systems 50(3), 81–90 (2010)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Park, Y., Jensen, C.: Beyond pretty pictures: Examining the benefits of code visualization for open source newcomers. In: 5th Intl. Workshop on Visualizing Software for Understanding and Analysis, pp. 3–10 (September 2009)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Qureshi, I., Fang, Y.: Socialization in open source software projects: A growth mixture modeling approach. Org Res. Meth. 14(1), 208–238 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Schilling, A., Laumer, S., Weitzel, T.: Who will remain? an evaluation of actual person-job and person-team fit to predict developer retention in floss projects. In: 45th Intl. Conf. on System Sciences (HICSS), pp. 3446–3455. IEEE CS (2012)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Singh, V.: Newcomer integration and learning in technical support communities for open source software. In: 17th Intl. Conf. on Supporting Group Work, GROUP 2012, pp. 65–74. ACM (2012)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Steinmacher, I., Gerosa, M.A., Redmiles, D.: Attracting, onboarding, and retaining newcomer developers in open source software projects. In: Workshop: Global Software Development in a CSCW Perspective (2014)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Steinmacher, I., Wiese, I., Chaves, A.P., Gerosa, M.A.: Why do newcomers abandon open source software projects? In: Intl. Workshop on Coop. and Human Aspects of Soft. Eng., (CHASE) (June 2013)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Steinmacher, I., Wiese, I., Gerosa, M.A.: Recommending mentors to software project newcomers. In: 3rd Intl. Workshop on Recommendation Systems for Soft. Eng (RSSE), pp. 63–67 (June 2012)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Stol, K.-J., Avgeriou, P., Babar, M.A.: Identifying architectural patterns used in open source software: approaches and challenges. In: 14th Intl. Conf. on Evaluation and Assessment in Soft. Eng., Swinton, UK, pp. 91–100. BCS (2010)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Thomas, D.R.: A general inductive approach for analyzing qualitative evaluation data. American Journal of Evaluation 27(2), 237–246 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Von Krogh, G., Spaeth, S., Lakhani, K.R.: Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: A case study. Res Policy 32(7), 1217–1241 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zhou, M., Mockus, A.: Does the initial environment impact the future of developers. In: 33rd Intl. Conf. on Soft. Eng (ICSE), pp. 271–280 (May 2011)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zhou, M., Mockus, A.: What make long term contributors: Willingness and opportunity in oss community. In: 34th Intl. Conf. on Soft. Eng (ICSE), pp. 518–528 (June 2012)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Igor Steinmacher
    • 1
  • Marco Aurélio Graciotto Silva
    • 1
  • Marco Aurélio Gerosa
    • 2
  1. 1.DACOMUTFPRCampo MouraoBrazil
  2. 2.IME, USPSao PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations