Software Development and Coordination Tools in Open Source Communities
Ruben van Wendel de Joode (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands), Hans de Bruijn (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands) and Michel van Eeten (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2007
Open source communities bring together a dispersed collection of people, sometimes a large number of them, around the development of open source software. In the absence of enforceable formal structures, like those found in corporate settings, how are the activities of all these participants coordinated? From the outside looking in, it may seem that chaos and disorder rule. It is true that most decisions are made on an individual basis by the participants themselves. Nevertheless, work is coordinated successfully. We first discuss mechanisms that reduce the need for coordination— most notably by striving for modularity and elegance. We then turn to a number of mechanisms that provide coordination even under the difficult conditions that are present in open source communities. We conclude by outlining a number of potential steps for future research.