Open Collaboration within Corporations Using Software Forges

Abstract: Over the past 10 years, open source software has become an important cornerstone of the software industry. Commercial users have adopted it in standalone applications, and software vendors are embedding it in products. Surprisingly then, from a commercial perspective, open source software is developed differently from how corporations typically develop software. Research into how open source works has been growing steadily. One driver of such research is the desire to understand how commercial software development could benefit from open source best practices. Do some of these practices also work within corporations? If so, what are they, and how can we transfer them?

Keywords: Inner source, firm-internal open source, corporate source, software forge, open collaboration, open source.

Reference: Dirk Riehle, John Ellenberger, Tamir Menahem, Boris Mikhailovski, Yuri Natchetoi, Barak Naveh, Thomas Odenwald. “Open Collaboration within Corporations Using Software Forges.” IEEE Software, vol. 26, no. 2 (March/April 2009). Page 52-58.

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10 thoughts on “Open Collaboration within Corporations Using Software Forges”

  1. Hi Dirk,

    I read your paper and found it extremely interesting. I am currently studying tools that support collaborative software development and your paper has given me lots to think about. Thanks!

    Medha (We had met at the EUSE Workshop at ICSE in Leipzig)

  2. Hi Prof. Dirk,

    It’s great to revisit your works on the less known/researched topics in Open Source. An idea transpired in my mind regarding an alternative organisation architecture. What if the amount of “credit” for a project be given on the basis of Commits contributed by a person ?

    If this “credit” is used as a measure/qualifier for the benefits he gets like pay etc, how will this affect (positive/negative), the dynamics of a project specially in an organization using Soft Forges for internal development. I would consider it to be good use of extracting open source properties to rather closed development!

  3. @Sanket—thanks for the comment! I’m not aware of any such “payment” system, but I think it might be up for gaming quite easily. A point of comparison might be Wikipedia, where people make lots of small typo-fixes. These are useful but frequently are only motivated by racking up a high edit-count for some reason, e.g. maintaining standing in the Wikipedia community. –Dirk

    PS: I hope Europe is treating you well!

  4. I’m curious: is the forge still active and running GForge, and if so which version… or maybe FusionForge ?

      1. Like most people having customized it, there are problems, I guess… maybe FusionForge can help here (shameless sel promotion, as a contributor to it myself 😉

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