Collecting data from distributed FOSS projects

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Fagerholm , F & Taina , J 2008 , ' Collecting data from distributed FOSS projects ' , pp. 5-11 .

Title: Collecting data from distributed FOSS projects
Author: Fagerholm, Fabian; Taina, Juha
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science
University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science
Belongs to series: Proceedings of the Workshop on Public Data about Software Development 2008 The 4th International Conference on Open Source Systems
Abstract: A key trait of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) development is its distributed nature. Nevertheless, two project-level operations, the fork and the merge of program code, are among the least well understood events in the lifespan of a FOSS project. Some projects have explicitly adopted these operations as the primary means of concurrent development. In this study, we examine the effect of highly distributed software development, is found in the Linux kernel project, on collection and modelling of software development data. We find that distributed development calls for sophisticated temporal modelling techniques where several versions of the source code tree can exist at once. Attention must be turned towards the methods of quality assurance and peer review that projects employ to manage these parallel source trees. Our analysis indicates that two new metrics, fork rate and merge rate, could be useful for determining the role of distributed version control systems in FOSS projects. The study presents a preliminary data set consisting of version control and mailing list data.
Peer review status: Peer reviewed
Date: 2008
Subject: 113 Computer and information sciences
software engineering: metrics
software engineering: management
software configuration management
information systems applications

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