Applicability of Lehman Laws on Open Source Evolution

Applicability of Lehman Laws on Open Source Evolution

Nisha Ratti (Rayat Institute of Engg. and Information Technology, India) and Parminder Kaur (Guru Nanak Dev University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8510-9.ch010
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Abstract

Software evolution is the essential characteristic of the real world software as the user requirements changes software needs to change otherwise it becomes less useful. In order to be used for longer time period, software needs to evolve. The software evolution can be a result of software maintenance. In this chapter, a study has been conducted on 10 versions of GLE (Graphics Layout Engine) and FGS (Flight Gear Simulator) evolved over the period of eight years. An effort is made to find the applicability of Lehman Laws on different releases of two softwares developed in C++ using Object Oriented metrics. The laws of continuous change, growth and complexity are found applicable according to data collected.
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Background

Open Source Software

The fundamental idea behind open source is making the source code available to public, so that any user can use it or modify it and redistribute it in the improved form. Open source help the users to interact with and learn from other users. There is no particular way to run an open source project. Some are democratic in nature and they welcome volunteers to contribute in all activities. In some projects, all the users work for one company, do all the development work and share the bugs and thereby think of the solution together. In some other projects, developers do not make any community at all, just share a web page. On that particular web page, they just share the development, let the other people download. And many a times, they send the response by emails. There are some wrong conceptions regarding Open Source Software Development (OSSD). Some people say that open source software development is a new software development paradigm. In fact, this paradigm is working since the age of ARPAnet and UNIX. Another misconception regarding OSSD is that it is not done by professionals. But truth is that professional programmers are hired and paid huge remuneration to do the software development using this paradigm. Some people still believe that OSSD produce the low quality software. In fact, developers do the quality assurance during the development itself.

Open Source Software Development Process

In open source software development process, a number of groups of developers are formed. Every group has their own leaders. OSSD follow very less formalized method for development. Only a little number of projects has any explicit process for development. Overhead related to the introduction and enforcement of the formal method are the main reasons for not having any particular process model. Email is the prime means of communication among the developers. So the log of messages is maintained which in turn help in design decisions (Boldyreff, 2003).

W. Scaachi (Scaacchi, 2001) has given five type of development processes for open source software development:

  • 1.

    Requirements analysis and specification

  • 2.

    Coordinated version control, system build, and staged incremental release

  • 3.

    Maintenance as evolutionary redevelopment, refinement, and redistribution

  • 4.

    Project management

  • 5.

    Software technology transfer.

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