FLOSSmole: A Collaborative Repository for FLOSS Research Data and Analyses

FLOSSmole: A Collaborative Repository for FLOSS Research Data and Analyses

James Howison (Syracuse University, USA), Megan Conklin (Elon University, USA) and Kevin Crowston (Syracuse University , USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-418-7.ch002
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Abstract

This paper introduces and expands on previous work on a collaborative project, called FLOSSmole (formerly OSSmole), designed to gather, share and store comparable data and analyses of free, libre, and open source software (FLOSS) development for academic research. The project draws on the ongoing collection and analysis efforts of many research groups, reducing duplication, and promoting compatibility both across sources of FLOSS data and across research groups and analyses. The paper outlines current difficulties with the current typical quantitative FLOSS research process and uses these to develop requirements and presents the design of the system.
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Background Of Problem

Obtaining data on FLOSS projects is both easy and difficult. It is easy because FLOSS development utilizes computer-mediated communications heavily for both development team interactions and for storing artifacts such as code and documentation. This way of developing software leaves a freely available and, in theory at least, highly accessible trail of data upon which many academics have built interesting analyses about optimal organization of development teams, economics of building software in the commons, and the like. Yet, despite this presumed plethora of data, researchers often face significant practical challenges in using this data to construct a collaborative and deliberative research discourse. In Figure 1, we outline the research process we believe is followed in much of the quantitative literature on FLOSS.

Figure 1.

The typical quantitative FLOSS research process (notice its noncyclical and noncollaborative nature)

The first step in collecting online FLOSS data is selecting which projects and which attributes to study, two techniques often used in estimation and selection are census and sampling. (Case studies are also used but these will not be discussed in this article.)

Conducting a census means to examine all cases of a phenomena, taking the measures of interest to build up an entire accurate picture. Taking a census is difficult in FLOSS for a number of reasons. First, it is hard to know how many FLOSS projects there are “out there,” and it is hard to know which projects should actually be included. For example, are corporate-sponsored projects part of the phenomenon or not? Do single-person projects count? What about school projects?

Second, the projects themselves, and the records they leave, are scattered across a surprisingly large number of locations. It is true that many are located in the major general repositories, such as Sourceforge2 and GNU Savannah.3 It is also true, however, that there are a number of other repositories of varying sizes and focuses (e.g., CodeHaus,4 CPAN5), and that many projects, including the well-known and much-studied Apache and Linux projects, prefer to use their own repositories and their own tools. This diversity of location effectively hides significant portions of the FLOSS world from attempts at census. Even if a full listing of projects and their locations could be collated, there is also the practical difficulty of dealing with the huge amount of data — sometimes years and years of e-mails, CVS, and bug tracker conversations — required to conduct certain comprehensive analyses.

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Olivier Berger, Christian Bac, Benoît Hamet
Libre software provides powerful applications ready to be integrated for the build-up of platforms for internal use in organizations. We describe... Sample PDF
Integration of Libre Software Applications to Create a Collaborative Work Platform for Researchers at GET
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Chapter 2
James Howison, Megan Conklin, Kevin Crowston
This paper introduces and expands on previous work on a collaborative project, called FLOSSmole (formerly OSSmole), designed to gather, share and... Sample PDF
FLOSSmole: A Collaborative Repository for FLOSS Research Data and Analyses
$37.50
Chapter 3
Luis López-Fernández, Gregorio Robles, Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, Israel Herraiz
Source code management repositories of large, long-lived libre (free, open source) software projects can be a source of valuable data about the... Sample PDF
Applying Social Network Analysis Techniques to Community-Driven Libre Software Projects
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Chapter 4
Walt Scacchi, Chris Jensen, John Noll, Margaret Elliott
Understanding the context, structure, activities, and content of software development processes found in practice has been and remains a challenging... Sample PDF
Multi-Modal Modeling, Analysis, and Validation of Open Source Software Development Processes
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Chapter 5
B. B. Rossi, M. Scotto, A. Sillitti, G. Succi
The aim of the paper is to report the results of a migration to Open Source Software (OSS) in one Public Administration. The migration focuses on... Sample PDF
An Empirical Study on the Migration to OpenOffice.org in a Public Administration
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Chapter 6
Claudio Agostino Ardagna, Fulvio Frati, Gabriele Gianini
Business and recreational activities on the global communication infrastructure are increasingly based on the use of remote resources and services... Sample PDF
Open Source in Web-Based Applications: A Case Study on Single Sign-On
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Chapter 7
Qusay H. Mahmoud, Zakaria Maamar
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Chapter 8
G. Sivaradje, R. Nakkeeran, P. Dananjayan
In this paper, a novel prediction technique is proposed, which uses road topology information for prediction. The proposed scheme uses real time... Sample PDF
A Prediction Based Flexible Channel Assignment in Wireless Networks using Road Topology Information
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Chapter 9
Hesham A. Ali, Tamer Ahmed Farrag
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Chapter 10
Khaldoon Al-Zoubi
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Hierarchical Scheduling in Heterogeneous Grid Systems
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Chapter 11
Amjad Mahmood, Taher S.K. Homeed
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Chapter 12
Saher S. Manaseer, Mohamed Ould-Khaoua, Lewis M. Mackenzie
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Chapter 14
Osama H.S. Khader
In mobile ad hoc networks, routing protocols are becoming more complicated and problematic. Routing in mobile ad hoc networks is multi-hop because... Sample PDF
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Chapter 15
Suet Chun Lee
Software product line (SPL) is a software engineering paradigm for software development. A software product within a product line often has specific... Sample PDF
Modeling Variant User Interfaces for Web-Based Software Product Lines
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Chapter 16
M. Brian Blake, Lisa Singh, Andrew B. Williams, Wendell Norman, Amy L. Sliva
Organizations are beginning to apply data mining and knowledge discovery techniques to their corporate data sets, thereby enabling the... Sample PDF
Experience Report: A Component-Based Data Management and Knowledge Discovery Framework for Aviation Studies
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Chapter 17
A. F. Tappenden, T. Huynh, J. Miller, A. Geras, M. Smith
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Agile Development of Secure Web-Based Applications
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Chapter 18
D. Xuan Le, J. Wenny Rahayu, David Taniar
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Web Data Warehousing Convergence: From Schematic to Systematic
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Chapter 19
Haya El-Ghalayini, Mohammed Odeh, Richard McClatchey
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Engineering Conceptual Data Models from Domain Ontologies: A Critical Evaluation
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Chapter 20
John D. Ferguson, James Miller
It is now widely accepted that software projects utilizing the Web (e-projects) face many of the same problems and risks experienced with more... Sample PDF
Modeling Defects in E-Projects
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Chapter 21
Jaime Gomez, Alejandro Bia, Antonio Parraga
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