Thursday, January 3, 2013

OSS Socialization

Qureshi and Fang (2011) approach open source software (OSS) projects in a slightly unique way using the socialization of a growth mixture model (GMM). They point out that there is a significant lack of literature involving the socialization of joiners in OSS projects. In this article, a joiner is defined as a community peripheral developer (a user that submit code for bug fixes and enhancements) that has been accepted as a core developer (a user who has access to update the source code). Additionally, the article defines the GMM as an analytical technique that summarizes data by modeling both intraindividual and interindividual variability in development trajectories through indentifying subpopulations, in this case joiners.

Qureshi and Fang (2011) hope to discover a common script that peripheral developers can follow in order to be accepted as core developers of an OSS project. Additionally, they wish to differentiate between the socialization patterns of peripheral developers moving towards becoming a core developer opposed to permanent peripheral developers.

Their sample included 870 joiners from 62 different OSS projects. In addition, they measured the level of socialization at a specific week in regards to the number of joiners' interactions with core developers on mailing lists. As they conducted the experiment, they developed a flow chart to illustrate the measurement process and the GMM.

Qureshi and Fang (2011) found two main results. First, they discovered that the joiner's discussions with core developers occur in a nonlinear growth trajectory. Secondly, they found joiners begin with different initial levels and follow different growth trajectories. Through observations of the different growth trajectories, they identify four latent trajectory classes. Additionally, the latent trajectory classes are connected with different time periods to attain the core developer status.

Furthermore, their results illustrate several important points of theory development with regards to socialization roles with core developers influencing the joiner's status the most.


Qureshi, I., & Fang,Y. (2011). Socialization in open source software projects: A growth mixture modeling approach. Organizational Research Methods, 14(1), 208-239.

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