Inner Source Definition, Benefits, and Challenges

Abstract: Inner Source (IS) is the use of open source soft­ware devel­op­ment prac­tices and the estab­lish­ment of an open source-like cul­ture with­in orga­ni­za­tions. The orga­ni­za­tion may still devel­op pro­pri­etary soft­ware but inter­nal­ly opens up its devel­op­ment. A steady stream of sci­en­tific lit­er­a­ture and prac­ti­tion­er reports indi­cates the inter­est in this research area. How­ev­er, the research area lacks a sys­tem­at­ic assess­ment of known research work: No mod­el exists that defines IS thor­ough­ly. Var­i­ous case stud­ies provide insights into IS pro­grams in the con­text of speci­fic orga­ni­za­tions but only few pub­li­ca­tions apply a broad­er per­spec­tive. To resolve this, we per­formed an exten­sive lit­er­a­ture sur­vey and ana­lyzed 43 IS relat­ed pub­li­ca­tions plus addi­tion­al back­ground lit­er­a­ture. Using qual­i­ta­tive data analy­sis meth­ods, we devel­oped a mod­el of the ele­ments that con­sti­tute IS. We present a clas­si­fi­ca­tion frame­work for IS pro­grams and projects and apply it to lay out a map of known IS endeav­ors. Fur­ther, we present qual­i­ta­tive mod­els sum­ma­riz­ing the ben­e­fits and chal­lenges of IS adop­tion. The sur­vey pro­vides the first broad review of IS lit­er­a­ture and sys­tem­at­ic arrange­ment of IS research results.

Key­words: Inner source, inner source def­i­n­i­tion, inner source ben­e­fits, inner source chal­lenges

Ref­er­ence: Capraro, M., & Riehle, D. (2016). Inner Source Def­i­n­i­tion, Ben­e­fits, and Chal­lenges. ACM Com­put­ing Sur­veys, vol. 9, no. 4, arti­cle no. 67.

The paper is avail­able as a PDF file.

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