Sociotechnical Coordination and Collaboration in Open Source Software

Christian Bird


Over the past decade, a new style of software

development, termed open source software (OSS) has emerged

and has originated large, mature, stable, and widely used

software projects. As software continues to grow in size and

complexity, so do development teams. Consequently, coordination

and communication within these teams play larger roles in

productivity and software quality. My dissertation focuses on the

relationships between developers in large open source projects

and how software affects and is affected by these relationships.

Fortunately, source code repository histories, mailing list archives,

and bug databases from OSS projects contain latent data from

which we can reconstruct a rich view of a project over time and

analyze these sociotechnical relationships. We present methods

of obtaining and analyzing this data as well as the results of

empirical studies whose goal is to answer questions that can

help stakeholders understand and make decisions about their

own teams. We answer questions such as “Do large OSS project

really have a disorganized bazaar-like structure?” “What is the

relationship between social and development behavior in OSS?”

“How does one progress from a project newcomer to a full-fledged,

core developer?” and others in an attempt to understand how

large, successful OSS projects work and also to contrast them

with projects in commercial settings.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inProceedings of the 27th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance
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