An Exploratory Analysis and Classification of Papers Presented in a Decade of OSS Conferences Using Revised Taxonomy

An Exploratory Analysis and Classification of Papers Presented in a Decade of OSS Conferences Using Revised Taxonomy

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3707-6.ch001
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On the occasion of completion of ten years of Open Source Systems (OSS) conferences, this paper studies its contribution to the extension of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) research. An existing taxonomy was used to initially classify the 347 full and short papers presented in the conferences. Because there were many new categories, which did not fit, in existing system, the taxonomy was revised and the reclassified papers are presented in this paper. The analysis of locations, themes, participants and citations of successive conferences results in interesting observation. The major takeaway of this ongoing study is to demonstrate that the goal of OSS conferences, as mentioned in the first edition, “to promote the exchange of new ideas, research and applications in the emerging field of Open Source Software,” is more than successful.
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Though Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is used together throughout the discussion of this work, it is necessary to understand that there are certain differences between the two. The differences, though minor in appearance have deep philosophical implications on the way software is discussed. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the definition of both terms.

Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

  • 1.

    The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

  • 2.

    The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition forthis.

  • 3.

    The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

  • 4.

    The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

In 1998, a group of individuals advocated that the term free software should be replaced by open source software(OSS) as an expression, which is less ambiguous and more comfortable for the corporate world. The open source label came out of a strategy session held in Palo Alto in reaction to Netscape’s January 1998 announcement of a source code release for Navigator (as Mozilla). Eric S. Raymond and Bruce Perens formed the Open Source Initiative (OSI) in February 1998.

The definition of ‘Open Source Software’ as maintained by OSI is as follows.

Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

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