Socio-technical evolution of the Ruby ecosystem in GitHub
2017 IEEE 24th International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER)
The evolution dynamics of a software ecosystem depend on the activity of the developer community contributing to projects within it. Both social and technical changes affect an ecosystem's evolution and the research community has been investigating the impact of these modifications over the last few years. Existing studies mainly focus on temporary modifications, often ignoring the effect of permanent changes on the software ecosystem. We present an empirical study of the magnitude and effect
... permanent modifications in both the social and technical parts of a software ecosystem. More precisely, we measure permanent changes with regard to the ecosystem's projects, contributors and source code files and present our findings concerning the effect of these modifications. We study the Ruby ecosystem in GitHub over a nine-year period by carrying out a socio-technical analysis of the co-evolution of a large number of base projects and their forks. This analysis involves both the source code developed for these projects as well as the developers having contributed to them. We discuss our findings with respect to the ecosystem evolution according to three different viewpoints: (1) the base projects, (2) the forks and (3) the entire ecosystem containing both the base projects and forks. Our findings show an increased growth in both the technical and social aspects of the Ruby ecosystem until early 2014, followed by an increased contributor and project abandonment rate. We show the effect of permanent modifications in the ecosystem evolution and provide preliminary evidence of contributors migrating to other ecosystems when leaving the Ruby ecosystem.