A framework for Open Source projects

Posted 17 Nov 2002 at 12:58 UTC by gregorrothfuss Share This

I recently completed my masters thesis A Framework for Open Source Projects (1.5MB PDF). By announcing it here, I hope it can be useful for someone. Feedback welcome.

Im indebted to the open source / free software communities for all the good material that I was able to collect from the web. I am now looking for ways to make the fruits of my work useful and accessible to the broadest possible audience. I would be happy to put the work under a free documentation license, or in the creative commons, and include / link to the thesis in appropriate places. (I havent figured out which license I want to use yet) Also, given enough interest I want to convert the thesis to docbook format.

I consider the thesis to be a 1.0 document, and plan to update / extend it as I learn more. The goal of my thesis was to establish a framework to support open source project participants and leaders. Im aware that each project is different, but I still believe that there are some common themes that reappear in most projects. Im trying to work these out, and to offer help for the most common problems encountered. So, if you think I'm full of it, or have corrections / addendums, send them my way.

I'm especially looking for the following things:

  • war stories with lessons to learn
  • pointers to new research
  • success factors for open source projects

The historical roots of Open Source are outlined. A comparison between Open Source projects and classical projects highlights strengths and weaknesses of both, and defines their attributes. Existing Open Source theories are evaluated, and the requirements for a framework for Open Source projects are determined. The framework introduces the notions of actors, roles, areas, processes and tools, and depicts their interrelationships in a matrix. Each aspect of the framework is then further developed to serve both as a conceptual foundation for Open Source and a help for organizing and managing Open Source projects.

Another &quostandards body&quo, posted 17 Nov 2002 at 13:15 UTC by aes » (Observer)

In your section on standards, you may want to include freedesktop.org. They basically make specifications for desktop environments to follow - most notably GNOME and KDE - for better interoperability.

I think you missed.., posted 18 Nov 2002 at 08:46 UTC by zenalot » (Journeyer)

I couldn't see this paper mentioned in your bibliography but I saw the authors of the paper in there. Perhaps what open source needs and maybe this is the aim of your thesis (didn't read it all) is a set of guidelines similar to how corporations conduct there software engineering practices. Currently we code by convention. I think an overall document produced by a committee, group or standards body on open source coding practice is a step in the right direction.

Also, I just submitted my thesis today, only for honours though - feels like I just got out of prison. When I walk outside I hear Vivaldi's Spring playing in my mind. Anyway Good luck.

A few comments, posted 19 Nov 2002 at 09:32 UTC by gerv » (Master)

- His name is "Fred Brookes", and it's "Brookes' Law", not "Fred Brook" and "Brook's law".

- "The Mozilla project's bug database contains 25000 bugs." Actually, it contains 180,000 "bugs", where a bug can be anything from a misspelling on a web page to a major feature rewrite request. It contains about 30,000 _open_ bugs.

- OK, so I'm biased, but: "Many Open Source ticketing systems exist, and most only support a very rudimentary feature set." Come on - surely Bugzilla deserves a bit more respect than this? :-)


Brooks, not Brookes or Brook, posted 19 Nov 2002 at 15:46 UTC by johnsonm » (Master)

If you are going to correct spelling, you might be more careful. Dr. Fred Brooks is the author of The Mythical Man-Month

I stand corrected, posted 20 Nov 2002 at 11:19 UTC by gerv » (Master)

OK, I suck. I knew it was wrong, but was in a rush and didn't verify my correction was right. Apologies to all.


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