Evolution patterns of open source software systems and communications
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Evolution Patterns of Open-Source Software Systems and Communications. Review Report By Haroon Malik. ABSTRACT. Open Source software (OOS) development a “natural product evolution” approach. Case Study of four typical OSS projects

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Evolution Patterns of Open-Source Software Systems and Communications

Review Report


Haroon Malik


  • Open Source software (OOS) development a “natural product evolution” approach.

  • Case Study of four typical OSS projects

  • Border Prospective: Evolution of OOS systems and its associated communities.

  • Proposed three types of OSS classification

    • Exploration-oriented,

    • Utility-Oriented &

    • Service-Oriented.

Open Source software

  • Free Redistribution

  • Source Code

  • Derived Works Integrity of The Author’s Source Code

  • No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

  • No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

  • License Must Not Be Specific to a Product


New Dimension

  • Previous studies:

    • The growth of size.

    • Decay of architecture and design &

    • Change of defect density.

  • Current Approach:

    • Evolution of OSS along with its respective community.

Natural Product Evolution

Source: [Madey, Freeh, and Tynan 2002].


  • Started in January 2001 by SRA to Conducted a survey on current status of OSS

  • Four local project were studied

    • GNUwingut Project

    • Linux Support project.

    • SRA-PostgresSQL project

    • Jun project

The GNUWingut Project

  • GNU project: Develops free UNIX operating System

  • GNUWingut project: Helps client import GNU software programs on to particular hardware platform

  • Richard Stallman: “Scientific knowledge to be shared among mankind”.

The GNUWingut Project (Cont’d)

  • Centralized Control

  • Develop Patches

  • Helps client to refine patch and report them to GNU core team development

  • Strict adhere to GNU guidelines

  • Acts as intermediate in couture barrier.

The Linux Support Project

  • Supports Linux bazaar style with decentralized control.

  • Identify and solve problem in course of using Linux.

  • Apply fix to existing source code

  • Do not contribute to the community

The SRA-PostgreSQL Project

  • Originally Developed as Research Prototype.

  • Internationalization

  • Bug fixes and patches

The JUN Project

  • Distribution of Jun Library

  • Deals with the software that has been developed in house

  • Contribution is from small group

  • Strictly managed by single project leader


  • General framework is required to manipulate the nature of evaluation in OSS project.

  • The frame work should address roles of OSS community members

  • The frame work should be able to depict the OSS community structure.

Roles of Community Members

Community Structure

  • No direct association of community member roles with social attributes

  • Balanced composition of roles

  • Unique community structure is determined by the nature and the its member population

Four OSS (Roles and structure of communities)

  • GNU Systems

    • Project Leader

      • Helped by Core members.

      • Makes Most decisions.

    • Active Developer

      • Trusted by project leader.

      • Contribute own code, Improve peripheral developers code and are bug fixer.

Four OSS (Roles and structure of communities) (Cont’d)

  • Recommend code to Project leader

  • Large numbers Readers exists in GNU community

  • They also acts as passive users.

  • Linux

    • One project leader (Linus Torvalds)

    • Few core members responsible for development of subsystem

  • Four OSS (Roles and structure of communities) (Cont’d)

    • Many Active developers.

    • Huge volume of passive user.

  • PostgreSQL

    • No single project leader.

    • Six core members.

    • 30 Active developers (major development team).

    • Inclusion of new features require voting by core members.

  • Four OSS (Roles and structure of communities) (Cont’d)

    • Community members are mostly passive users and Bug Reporter.

    • Few Readers and extremely low volume of Bug Fixer.

    • Leader of SRA PostgreSQL project is Active Developer.

    • Other SRA members work as Peripheral Developers.

    Four OSS (Roles and structure of communities) (Cont’d)

    • JUN

      • Project leader: SRA employee

      • Many other employee work as Core Members.

      • Few Bug Reporters exists in community

      • Most members are passive user with exception of few as readers

    Evolution of Systems

    Evolution of Communities

    • Evolution of an OSS community is brought by the role changes of its members.

    • Evolution of OSS community is determined by two factors:

      • Existence of motivated members &

      • Social Mechanism of the community

    Classification of OSS Projects

    • Exploration-oriented OSS

      • GNU and JUN falls in to this category.

      • Quality requirement of this class is very high

      • Once, released becomes learning source for thousands.

      • Must be developed and maintained by expert programmers such as project leaders.

      • Community members mostly collaborate with leader as reviews and testers

    Classification of OSS Projects (Cont’d)

    • Utility-Oriented OSS

      • Linux falls in to this classification (excluding Linux kernel).

      • Consists of many relative independent programs.

      • Mostly developed from scratch.

      • Mostly targeted to solve individual or small group needs.

      • Evolution pattern is tournament style.

    Classification of OSS Projects (Cont’d)

    • Service-Oriented OSS

      • PostgreSQL marks this class.

      • Population of stakeholders is much larger then that of Community.

      • Conservative against evolutionary and rapid changes.

      • Changes are made in council style.

    Classification of OSS Projects (Cont’d)

    Evolution Pattern of OSS projects

    • Thank You.

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