Open Source Software Systems: Understanding Bug Prediction and Software Developer Roles

Open Source Software Systems: Understanding Bug Prediction and Software Developer Roles

R. B. Lenin (University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA), S. Ramaswamy (University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA), Liguo Yu (Indiana University South Bend, USA) and R. B. Govindan (University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/ijossp.2010100103
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Complex software systems and the huge amounts of data they produce are becoming an integral part of our organizations. We are also becoming increasingly dependent on high quality software products in our everyday lives. These systems ‘evolve’ as we identify and correct existing defects, provide new functionalities, or increase their nonfunctional qualities - such as security, maintainability, performance, etc. Simultaneously, more software development projects are distributed over multiple locations (often globally) and are often several millions of dollars in development costs. Consequently, as the Internet continually eliminates geographic boundaries, the concept of doing business within a single country has given way to companies focusing on competing in an international marketplace. The digitalization of work and the reorganization of work processes across many organizations have resulted in routine and/or commodity components being outsourced.
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Currently there is an increase in the total worldwide investment in research and a wider worldwide distribution of research and development activities. It is predicted that government action and economic factors will result in more global competition in both lower-end software skills and higher-end endeavors such as research. Critical drivers include lower costs and increase quality, member flexibility and unorthodox round-the-clock approaches to project execution, enhanced creativity in the development environment, the interdependency between economic and software development and much more. It has been argued that standardized jobs are more easily moved from developed to developing countries than are higher-skill jobs. Employees in this global environment need to comfortable with the theory, blend it with necessary practice by understanding the business and cultural issues involved; while being able to effectively share, communicate, articulate and advance their ideas for an innovative product &/or solution.

From a project management perspective, it is imperative that project managers be able to deal with such geographically separated diverse groups in an effective manner. This implies that they need to address two critical issues: (i) Resource planning / forecasting based upon the need for software maintenance, which is influenced by the number of bugs occurring in the various software components, and (ii) understanding the interaction patterns among the various software developers. In this chapter, we concentrate on these two specific issues, both relating to issues of staffing / resource allocation, that impact cost and influence effective project management, using data produced from open-source software (OSS) repositories:

  • 1.

    Prediction of future bugs: Given the globalized nature of such software development projects and the associated costs; even a slight improvement in predicting the expected bugs can lead to immense improvements in effective project planning and management, and,

  • 2.

    Understanding the dynamics of distributed OSS developer groups: Development personnel in groups who are also team builders, are critical to sustain a long-term geographically dispersed project development. Understanding the interaction dynamics between team members in a distributed software development team can be critical for issues relating to personnel and merit decisions.

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