Analyzing OSS Project Health with Heterogeneous Data Sources

Analyzing OSS Project Health with Heterogeneous Data Sources

Wikan Danar Sunindyo (Vienna University of Technology, Austria, & Bandung Insitute of Technology, Indonesia), Thomas Moser (Vienna University of Technology, Austria), Dietmar Winkler (Vienna University of Technology, Austria) and Stefan Biffl (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2937-0.ch011
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Abstract

Stakeholders in Open Source Software (OSS) projects need to determine whether a project is likely to sustain for a sufficient period of time in order to justify their investments into this project. In an OSS project context, there are typically several data sources and OSS processes relevant for determining project health indicators. However, even within one project these data sources often are technically and/or semantically heterogeneous, which makes data collection and analysis tedious and error prone. In this paper, the authors propose and evaluate a framework for OSS data analysis (FOSSDA), which enables the efficient collection, integration, and analysis of data from heterogeneous sources. Major results of the empirical studies are: (a) the framework is useful for integrating data from heterogeneous data sources effectively and (b) project health indicators based on integrated data analyses were found to be more accurate than analyses based on individual non-integrated data sources.
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Introduction

Current Open Source Software (OSS) projects involve a range of stakeholders, from core developers and co-developers to potential users and project investors. Typically, stakeholders, such as potential users or project investors need to know the status and the likely future performance of the project to determine whether the project is likely to sustain for a reasonable period of time in order to justify their investments into the project.

Recent research on using project data to support OSS health monitoring to provide immediate OSS project status, e.g., Sourcerer (Linstead, Bajracharya, Ngo, Rigor, Lopes, & Baldi, 2009), focus on analyzing author-topic relationships in different OSS artifacts to increase understanding of the project and to raise the awareness on the health status of a project. Gall, Fluri, and Pinzger (2009) introduced the Evolizer approach to analyze the software evolution of OSS projects within Eclipse. This analysis is useful to investigate the current stage of OSS to be adapted continuously to changing environments, business reorientation, or modernization. Recent research on OSS project status monitoring includes participation aspects (Choi, Chengalur-Smith, & Whitmore, 2010), productivity aspects (Wahyudin & Tjoa, 2007), communication aspects (Biffl, Sunindyo, & Moser, 2010a), and community aspects (Kaltenecker, 2010). The research presented in this paper is based on the concept of project health indicators, which has been introduced by Wahyudin, Schatten, Mustofa, Biffl, and Tjoa (2006) for monitoring the health status of OSS projects during development. Example indicators that can be used by experts to assess an OSS project are: (a) service delays on open issues – the time it takes to fix bugs and issues listed in the project bug reporting system; (b) proportions of activity metrics in the community, e.g., the volume of mailing list postings, bug status changes per times slot, and updates in the SVN to learn the health of relationships between relevant activities, e.g., activities on the same bug; and (c) communication and use intensity. In a healthy project community, a reasonable relationship can be expected between measures such as the number of downloads, mailing list postings, and developer interactions in mailing lists (Wahyudin, Mustofa, Schatten, Biffl, & Tjoa, 2007).

However, challenges for monitoring the health status of OSS projects easily and frequently are: (a) manual data collection and integration from heterogeneous data sources, i.e., data sources, which represent common project-level concepts in various data formats that are non-trivial to reconcile, tend to be prone to errors and take considerable effort to integrate (Conklin, 2006); (b) the need to correlate data on different activities requires data integration; (c) manual data validation of the integrated data is hard due to different representation of common concepts, e.g., different names for one person in the data models involved; (d) data analyses of individual data sources, e.g., mailing lists, bug database (Mockus, Fielding, & Herbsleb, 2002), SVN/CVS (German, 2004), and change logs (Chen, Schach, Yu, Offutt, & Heller, 2004) have been shown to be weak to detect the health status of OSS project accurately; and (e) the large amount of data to maintain for analysis in an OSS project over time takes significant resources for storing.

In this paper, we propose and evaluate a framework for OSS data analysis, FOSSDA, which enables the efficient collection, integration, and analysis of data from heterogeneous sources. This framework provides the following contributions to address OSS project health monitoring challenges: (a) a process with semantic tool support to make data collection and integration from heterogeneous data sources more efficient; (b) adaptation of ontology-based querying techniques to OSS project monitoring, which makes data validation simpler and more effective; (c) the combination of different project metrics for analysis purposes is expected to improve project health analysis accuracy over the analysis based on individual data sources only; (d) the use of an ontology to represent OSS knowledge based on well-defined semantics and to provide extensive querying capabilities (Biffl, Sunindyo, & Moser, 2010b).

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