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Title: "Free & Open Source Software Developers and the Economy of Regard: Participation and Code-Signing in the Modules of the Linux Kernel"
Authors: Jean-Michel Dalle
Paul David Oxford Internet Institute
Rishab Aiyer Ghosh
Frank Wolak Stanford University
Publication Date: June 17 2004
Free/Fee: Free Access
Reads: 4267
Abstract: We attempt to illuminate the interplay of decentralized, micro-level decisions that shape the allocation of individual voluntary software development efforts on the part of collectivities (communities) of agents, distributing their work among the distinct modules (or packages of code) that form large and complex open source system products. The paper integrates several distinct sources of information and methods of analysis, in particular: (a) behavioral generalizations of a sociological character deriving from expert-participant observation; (b)descriptive quantitative data extracted from open source code, exposing the technical features (e.g., size, technical dependency structure) of the modules forming the Linux kernel and (c) distributions of authorship credits among the modules in the same releases of the Linux kernel. This material is used to draw statistical inferences about factors affecting individual developers decisions affecting the distribution of code-writing efforts within this large, emblematic project, based upon estimation of the equations of a econometric model of code-signing and participation behaviors. The approach pursued is a first step towards more complex quantitative analyses that will exploit the self-revealing ontological features of open source software, and the array of new tools for machine extraction of data from code repositories. A concluding discussion examines the implications of the findings for the construction of agent-based stochastic simulation models designed to reveal properties of self-organized community-mode software production.
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