Weaving a Semantic Web Across OSS Repositories: Unleashing a New Potential for Academia and Practice

Weaving a Semantic Web Across OSS Repositories: Unleashing a New Potential for Academia and Practice

Olivier Berger, Valentin Vlasceanu, Christian Bac, Quang Vu Dang, Stéphane Lauriere
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jossp.2010040103
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Several public repositories and archives of “facts” about libre software projects, maintained either by open source communities or by research communities, have been flourishing over the Web in recent years. These have enabled new analysis and support for new quality assurance tasks. This paper presents some complementary existing tools, projects and models proposed both by OSS actors or research initiatives that are likely to lead to useful future developments in terms of study of the FLOSS phenomenon, and also to the very practitioners in the FLOSS development projects. A goal of the research conducted within the HELIOS project is to address bugs traceability issues. In this regard, the authors investigate the potential of using Semantic Web technologies in navigating between many different bugtracker systems scattered all over the open source ecosystem. By using Semantic Web techniques, it is possible to interconnect the databases containing data about open-source software projects development, which enables OSS partakers to identify resources, annotate them, and further interlink those using dedicated properties and collectively designing a distributed semantic graph.
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Open-source GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian or Mandriva are composed of thousands of assembled packages (downstream) providing software which has been developed within hundreds of independent projects (upstream).

Each GNU/Linux distribution usually maintains a central bugtracker (for instance, Debian's debbugs which is available at https://qa.mandriva.com/) that is open to reports from its users in case of problems or requests for changes. Such bugtrackers are key to the quality assurance process of the distributions. Unlike forums or mailing-lists, they often are the only place where thousands of users and maintainers can coordinate on the technical problems in a semi-structured way (thanks to the workflows of bug reports imposed by the bugtrackers). Apart from these popular bugtrackers for the distributions (running bugzilla, debbugs or launchpad), in turn, each independent FLOSS project generally maintains its own dedicated bugtracker which is mainly used by its developers and a few “power users”. They may then be running their own instance of Bugzilla, Mantis, Trac, Jira, Roundup or other such tools, or also using co-hosted trackers on a shared service like a software forge at SourceForge.net or LaunchPad, for instance.

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