Understanding the requirements for developing open source software systems

W. Scacchi
2002 IEE Proceedings - Software  
This study presents an initial set of findings from an empirical study of social processes, technical system configurations, organizational contexts, and interrelationships that give rise to open software. The focus is directed at understanding the requirements for open software development efforts, and how the development of these requirements differs from those traditional to software engineering and requirements engineering. Four open software development communities are described, examined,
more » ... escribed, examined, and compared to help discover what these differences may be. Eight kinds of software informalisms are found to play a critical role in the elicitation, analysis, specification, validation, and management of requirements for developing open software systems. Subsequently, understanding the roles these software informalisms take in a new formulation of the requirements development process for open source software is the focus of this study. This focus enables considering a reformulation of the requirements engineering process and its associated artifacts or (in)formalisms to better account for the requirements for developing open source software systems. IEE Proceedings --Software Paper number 29840, Accepted for publication with revisions, December 2001. Comparative case studies are also important in that they can serve as foundation for the formalization of our findings and process models as a process meta-model [24] . Such a meta-model can be used to construct a predictive, testable, and incrementally refined theory of open software development processes within or across communities or projects. A process meta-model can also be used to configure, generate, or instantiate Web-based process modeling, prototyping, and enactment environments that enable modeled processes to be globally deployed and computationally supported [e.g., 26, 27]. This may be of value to other academic research or commercial development organizations that seek to adopt "best practices" for open software development processes well suited to their needs and situation. Therefore, the study and results presented in this report denote a new foundation on which computational models of open software requirements processes may be developed, as well as their subsequent analysis, simulation, or redesign [34] . The study reported here entails the use of empirical field study methods [40] that follow conform to the principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive research design [19] as identified here. Seven principles are used in this study in the following manner.
doi:10.1049/ip-sen:20020202 fatcat:vi72jkxbqnfc7ghnf2c66346ia