Thursday, January 3, 2013

Future Research in Open Source Software

Scacchi (2010), a leading researcher in open source software (OSS), discusses trends in his ACM conference proceeding, The Future of Research in Free/Open Source Software Development. Even though many take advantage of OSS, the computer science research community has not fully recognized OSS' potential to alter the research and development of software intensive systems. Millions of end users worldwide openly adopt and rely on tens of thousands of OSS projects. With such a high adoption rate, a growing number of research projects in physical, social, and human sciences have started to examine and adopt OSS projects to meet their needs as well. OSS now represents an alternative community intensive socio-technical approach to programming software.

Many topics involving OSS still need investigating and explaining. First, an individual developer’s interest, motivation and commitment to a project and its contributors are dynamic in terms of participating, joining, and contributing to an OSS project. Second, conflicts within OSS projects arise from technical decision making, such as who is in charge of which aspects of the project. Third, building communities and alliances points towards more dependency on the OSS projects. Fourth, the socio-technical web of OSS projects in terms of shared resources poses questions of how this dynamic structure solidifies. Lastly, more empirical studies that analyze, discover, and learn the large OSS ecosystem are needed.

Scacchi (2010) concludes by saying OSS development is emerging as an alternative approach to develop large software systems. OSS employs socio-technical practices, development processes, and community networking. OSS offer new practices, processes, and projects for study and comparison to the tradition software model. Many new research opportunities exist in the empirical examination, modeling, and simulation of OSS projects.

Scacchi, W. (2010). The Future of Research in Free/Open Source Software Development. ACM conference proceedings.

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