Open Source Developer Layer Assessment: Open Onion

Open Source Developer Layer Assessment: Open Onion

Aminat Abiola Showole (University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJOSSP.2015010103


Open Source developers play fundamental determinant role in the life of any open source project. This paper investigates developer motivation in contributing tirelessly to an open source project. Open source Onions were investigated and the developer layer modeled and validated based on ten case studies from SourceForge. Validation was based on Delphi's four rounds of successive stages. Results show that 62% of the developers around an open source development project community are skilled programmers, and that Open source developers are largely motivated by web based development platforms with universal programming language such as Java and that Developers are mostly attracted to the GPL licensed software development project with high project publicity as could be tracked from the hit rate on the project website. Finally, the few Core developers (Project Administrators) of about 19% actually controls and oversees the affairs carried out by about 81% of many developers showing the prominence of Pareto80/20 Principle in Open Source Project development.
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1. Introduction

Open Source development could be analyzed based on a number of key factors; ranging from developer roles to investigating the community around a project, the target audience and the programming platform support for an open source project. Interestingly, open source development is usually described with onion structure. Paradigm examples are Crowston’s Onion as discussed in Crowston and Howison (2003); Kumiyo’s Onion as found in Kumiyo, Yasuhiro et al. (2002)); Antikainen’s Linux Onion (Antikainen, Aaltonen et al. 2007) and Herraiz’s Onion (Herraiz, Gregorio et al. 2006). The Open Onion research has evolved a robust open onion model of open source development by merging the onion layers within the four earlier mentioned open source onions. With this approach, a unique open onion model has evolved from the consolidated un-validated earlier onion models of open source. The novelty of this research lies in the validation of the layers within the open onion model. This paper only provides a detailed assessment of the developer layer of the open onion. Table 1 shows the evolution of the open onion model and developer layer is prominent within the onion model of open source.

Table 1.
The onions of open source development
Onion layers    Crowston (2003)    Kumiyo (2002)    Antikainen (2007)Herraiz (2006)Aminat Showole’s “Open Onion Model” (2011)
Most InternalCore DeveloperProject Leader/Core membersLinus Tovald/ LieutenantCore DeveloperProject Initiation Layer
DeveloperCo-developerActive/Peripheral DevelopersCoders/ JenitarsDeveloperDeveloper Layer
MaintainersRelease CoordinatorActive DevelopersMaintainersBug fixersMaintainers Layer
UserActive UsersReadersTestersMailing listUser Layer
Most ExternalPassive UsersPassive UsersReadersPlain UsersExternal Layer

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