In this chapter, we propose for the first time a method to compare the efficiency of free and open source projects, based on the data envelopment analysis (DEA) methodology. DEA offers several advantages in this context, as it is a non-parametric optimization method without any need for the user to define any relations between different factors or a production function, can account for economies or diseconomies of scale, and is able to deal with multi-input, multi-output systems in which the factors have different scales. Using a data set of 43 large F/OS projects retrieved from SourceForge.net, we demonstrate the application of DEA, and show that DEA indeed is usable for comparing the efficiency of projects. We will also show additional analyses based on the results, exploring whether the inequality in work distribution within the projects, the licensing scheme or the intended audience have an effect on their efficiency. As this is a first attempt at using this method for F/OS projects, several future research directions are possible. These include additional work on determining input and output factors, comparisons within application areas, and comparison to commercial or mixed-mode development projects.
Complete Chapter List
Sulayman K. Sowe
Martin Michlmayr, Gregorio Robles, Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona
Michael Weiss, Gabriella Moroiu
Andrew Schofield, Grahame S. Cooper
Ruben van Wendel de Joode, Hans de Bruijn, Michel van Eeten
Anas Tawileh, Omer F. Rana, Wendy Ivins, Stephen McIntosh
Benno Luthiger, Carola Jungwirth
Kris Ven, Dieter Van Nuffel, Jan Verelst
Francesco Di Cerbo, Marco Scotto, Alberto Sillitti, Giancarlo Succi, Tullio Vernazza
Donald Wynn Jr.