Exploring the Effects of Process Characteristics on Product Quality in Open Source Software Development

Exploring the Effects of Process Characteristics on Product Quality in Open Source Software Development

Stefan Koch (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria) and Christian Neumann (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-904-5.ch006
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Abstract

There has been considerable discussion on the possible impacts of open source software development practices, especially in regard to the quality of the resulting software product. Recent studies have shown that analyzing data from source code repositories is an efficient way to gather information about project characteristics and programmers, showing that OSS projects are very heterogeneous in their team structures and software processes. However, one problem is that the resulting process metrics measuring attributes of the development process and of the development environment do not give any hints about the quality, complexity, or structure of the resulting software. Therefore, we expanded the analysis by calculating several product metrics, most of them specifically tailored to object-oriented software. We then analyzed the relationship between these product metrics and process metrics derived from a CVS repository. The aim was to establish whether different variants of open source development processes have a significant impact on the resulting software products. In particular we analyzed the impact on quality and design associated with the numbers of contributors and the amount of their work, using the GINI coefficient as a measure of inequality within the developer group.

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