The Organization of Open Source Communities: Towards a Framework to Analyze the Relationship between Openness and Reliability

System Sciences, 2006. HICSS '06. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Hawaii International Conference(2006)

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A number of open source communities have been able to create surprisingly reliable software. The popular claims to explain how and why certain open source packages have managed to become reliable are primarily focused on the openness of the communities and the development process. This paper describes our ongoing efforts to build a framework and define a number of propositions to guide our research effort in trying to understand the relationship between openness and reliability. Using an organizational focus on the issue of openness, we combine empirical evidence gained from research in a small-scale open source community (MMBase) with findings from two organizational theories that focus on the reliability of complex, large-scale technological systems. In this paper we introduce three propositions, which are: i) the bigger the percentage of developers in an open source community who actually use the software, the more reliable the software; ii) the more transparent the flow of information in an open source community, the more reliable the software; iii) the more popular the open source software, the more reliable the software.
open source communities,open source software,small-scale open source community,organizational theory,research effort,popular claim,certain open source package,development process,organizational focus,reliable software,open source community,kernel,packaging,operating systems,empirical evidence,rhetoric,reliability theory,linux,writing
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