Do Not Check in on Red: Control Meets Anarchy in Two Open Source Projects

Do Not Check in on Red: Control Meets Anarchy in Two Open Source Projects

Jesper Holck (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark) and Niels Jørgensen (Roskilde University, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-369-2.ch001


For two Free/Open Source Software projects, Mozilla and FreeBSD, we describe the central elements in the soft­ware development processes: the technological infrastructure, the work organization, and the soft­ware process models. For each of these elements we discuss how the projects try to find an optimal balance between control (supposedly necessary for producing high-quality software) and anarchy (supposedly necessary for attracting and keeping voluntary developers). Several important consid­erations are identified: most importantly, control of access to bug-tracking systems and source code repositories, quality control of both individual contributions and production releases, the importance of the development branch, and control of developers’ prioritization of work tasks and availability. The results show that the two projects, even though they produce very different kinds of software (a web-browser suite and an oper­ating system), are similar in many respects. However, they also show how difficult the balance between anarchy and control may be and that it is likely to shift over time.

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