Open Source Software

Authored by: Walt Scacchi

Encyclopedia of Software Engineering

Print publication date:  November  2010
Online publication date:  November  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420059779
eBook ISBN: 9781351249270
Adobe ISBN:


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This entry examines and reviews what is known so far about free/open source software development (FOSSD). FOSSD is not the same as software engineering (SE) as is portrayed in common textbooks. Instead, it is a complementary approach to address the many challenges that arise in the development of complex software systems that are often built outside of a traditional corporate software development environment. This entry highlights some of the basic understandings of how FOSSD works based on empirical studies of FOSSD projects, processes, and work practices in different communities. This includes identification of different types of informal online artifacts that facilitate and constrain FOSSD projects. This entry also identifies what different studies examine as well as the approaches used to sample and systematically study FOSSD. Next, opportunities for constructive crossover studies of SE and FOSSD help reveal new directions for further research study. Finally, the last section presents limitations and conclusions regarding studies of FOSSD.

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