Evolutionary success of Open Source Software: an investigation into exogenous drivers

Article


Beecher, Karl, Boldyreff, Cornelia, Capiluppi, Andrea and Rank, Stephen 2008. Evolutionary success of Open Source Software: an investigation into exogenous drivers. Electronic communications of the EASST.
AuthorsBeecher, Karl, Boldyreff, Cornelia, Capiluppi, Andrea and Rank, Stephen
Abstract

The “success” of a Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) project
has often been evaluated through the number of commits made to its configuration
management system, number of developers and number of users. Based on Source-
Forge, most studies have concluded that the vast majority of projects are failures.
This paper argues that the relative success of a FLOSS project can depend also on
the chosen forge and distribution. Given a random sample of 50 projects contained
within a popular FLOSS forge (Debian, which is the basis of the successful Debian
distribution), we compare these with a similar sample from SourceForge, using
product and process metrics, such as size achieved and number of developers involved.
The results show firstly that, depending on the forge of FLOSS projects, researchers
can draw different conclusions regarding what constitutes a successful FLOSS project.
Secondly, the projects included in the Debian distribution benefit, on average, from
more evolutionary activity and more developers than the comparable projects on
SourceForge. Finally, the Debian projects start to benefit from more activity and
more developers from the point at which they join this distribution.

KeywordsFLOSS; repositories; metrics; success; evolvability; Free/Libre/Open Source Software
JournalElectronic communications of the EASST
ISSN1863 2122
Year2008
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/273
Publication dates
Print2008
Publication process dates
Deposited28 Sep 2009
Additional information

Citation:
Beecher, K., Boldyreff, C., Capiluppi, A., Rank, S. (2008) ‘Evolutionary success of Open Source Software: an investigation into exogenous drivers.’ Electronic communications of the EASST, 8.

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