Adopting Free/Libre/Open Source Software Practices, Techniques and Methods for Industrial Use*

By Torkar, Richard; Minoves, Pau et al. | Journal of the Association for Information Systems, January 2011 | Go to article overview

Adopting Free/Libre/Open Source Software Practices, Techniques and Methods for Industrial Use*


Torkar, Richard, Minoves, Pau, Garrigós, Janina, Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Abstract

Today's software companies face the challenges of highly distributed development projects and constantly changing requirements. This paper proposes the adoption of relevant Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) practices in order to improve software development projects in industry. Many FLOSS projects have proven to be very successful, producing high quality products with steady and frequent releases. This study aims to identify FLOSS practices that can be adapted for the corporate environment. To achieve this goal, a framework to compare FLOSS and industrial development methodologies was created. Three successful FLOSS projects were selected as study targets (the Linux Kernel, the FreeBSD operating system, and the JBoss application server), as well as two projects from Ericsson, a large telecommunications company. Based on an analysis of these projects, FLOSS best practices were tailored to fit industrial development environments. The final results consisted of a set of key adoption opportunities that aimed to improve software quality and overall development productivity by importing best practices from the FLOSS environment. The adoption opportunities were then validated at three large corporations.

1. Introduction

To structure the software development process, organizations generally adopt a software development methodology. Avison and Fitzgerald (2003) define a software development methodology as "a recommended collection of phases, procedures, rules, techniques, tools, documentation, management and training used to develop a system." There are many available software development methodologies that an organization can follow to drive its projects, ranging from the traditional waterfall model to more modern ones that adopt an agile approach. For example, Ericsson AB, one of the major software producers of telecommunication systems and the site of the present study, uses a software development methodology called Streamline. Created by and for Ericsson, this methodology is widely implemented in-house with some project-specific variations.

In parallel with the development of formal methodologies, over the past twenty-five years Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) communities have evolved a distinctive way of producing software. Noticing the success of several FLOSS projects, industry has shown particular interest in understanding how the massively distributed development teams commonly found in FLOSS communities manage to deliver high quality software. Distributed development poses significant challenges for software developers, but FLOSS teams often seem to be able to overcome these challenges. Based on the hypothesis that industry can benefit from adopting some practices from FLOSS development, the aim of this study is to collect, identify and analyse relevant FLOSS software development practices and then transform them to general adoption opportunities.

Free/Libre/Open Source Software has been an object of research for some years. FLOSS projects have been analysed mainly from two perspectives: as a product or as a development methodology. Studies investigating FLOSS as a product focus on measurable characteristics of the software or projects, such as defect density, software packaging statistics, software growth or number and type of contributors. Target projects of such studies have included the Apache httpd server (Paulson et al., 2004), the Linux kernel (Paulson et al, 2004), the GCC compiler (Paulson et al., 2004), the Debian Linux distribution (Amor et al., 2005; González-Barahona et al., 2001), OpenBSD (Li et al., 2005), and the Eclipse development environment (Herraiz et al., 2007). In the second group, we find studies investigating FLOSS as a way of producing software. These studies can be broadly categorised by their focus on community culture (e.g., Glass, 2003), organisational models (e.g., Gacek and Arief, 2004; Lattermann and Stieglitz, 2005) or processes and methods (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Adopting Free/Libre/Open Source Software Practices, Techniques and Methods for Industrial Use*
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.