The Co-Evolution of Systems and Communities in Free and Open Source Software Development
Yunwen Ye (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA), Kumiyo Nakakoji (University of Tokyo, Japan), Yasuhiro Yamamoto (University of Tokyo, Japan) and Kouichi Kishida (SRA Key Technology Lab, Japan)
Copyright: © 2005
Because a Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) project is unlikely to sustain a long-term success unless there is an associated community that provides the platform for developers, users, and user-turned-developers to collaborate with each other, understanding the well-observed phenomenon that F/OSS systems experience “natural product evolution” cannot be complete without understanding the structure and evolution of their associated communities. This chapter examines the structure of F/OSS communities and the co-evolution of F/OSS systems and communities based on a case study. Although F/OSS systems and communities generally co-evolve, they co-evolve differently depending on the goal of the system and the structure of the community. A systematic analysis of the differences leads us to propose a classification of F/OSS projects into three types: Exploration-Oriented, Utility-Oriented, and Services-Oriented. Practical implications of realizing the co-evolution and recognizing the different types of F/OSS projects are discussed to provide guidance for F/OSS practitioners.