Getting Started With Open Source Governance (Jeff McAffer, IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the fourth article in the new Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleGetting Started With Open Source Governance
KeywordsCompanies, Licenses, Security, Software, Law
AuthorsJeff McAffer, GitHub
PublicationComputer vol. 52 (October 2019), pp. 92-96

Abstract: Using and managing open source is essential in modern software development. Here we lay out a framework for thinking about open source engagement and highlight the key steps in getting started.

As always, the article is freely available (local copy).

Also, check out the full list of articles.

Digital Sovereignty for Germany?

Last week the German government published a commissioned study on how it depends on software and services vendors (local copy). The day after the publication, Cathrin Schaer of ZDnet called to ask for my thoughts on the study and digital sovereignty for Germany: Is it even possible? Cathrin’s resulting article picked up some of our discussion, but I wanted to take the time here to elaborate on my thoughts.

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The Missed Opportunity in Defining Open Source #OpenCoreSummit

I’m at my Ph.D. student retreat, following the Open Core Summit, a commercial conference on the use of open source strategies by product vendors, on Twitter. From afar, it appears that the attack on the definition of open source has made it to the conference. This is regrettable, but possible because of a root problem with the open source definition as defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI): It is about the licenses only. Only on the side, in the open source initiative’s mission statement does it say something about process:

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Industry Best Practices for Corporate Open Sourcing (HICSS 53)

Abstract: Companies usually don’t share the source code for the software they develop. While this approach is justified in software that constitutes differentiating intellectual property, proprietary development can lead to redundant development and other opportunity costs. In response, companies are increasingly open sourcing some if not all of their non-differentiating software. Given the limited academic research on this emerging topic, we bridge the gap between industry and academia by taking a practice-based approach. We investigate why and how companies engage in corporate open sourcing. We take an exploratory case study approach. Our cases are four companies with multi-billion-dollar revenues each: A major e-commerce company based in Germany; a leading social networking service company based in the USA; a cloud computing software company based in the USA; and a manufacturing and media software company based in the USA. We present the resulting theory in an actionable format of state-of-the-art best practice patterns.

Reference: Harutyunyan, N., Riehle, D., & Sathya, G. (2020). Industry Best Practices for Corporate Open Sourcing. In Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2020), to appear.

Download: The paper is available as a PDF file.

The JDownloader Immune System for Continuous Deployment (HICSS 53)

Abstract: Continuous deployment can reduce the time from a source code change to a newly deployed application significantly. Increased innovation speed can make all the difference in a competitive market situation. However, deploying at high frequency requires high speeds of discovering bugs in the deployed software. Using the JDownloader file download manager as our example, we present a fitness model to evaluate a continuously deployed software during operation for expected behavior, present the design and implementation of a monitoring component, and evaluate the model and its implementation using data from JDownloader’s multi-million member strong user base. Our evaluation finds that there had been thousands of undetected bugs, and that newly created bugs can be detected and reported 16 times faster than before.

Keywords: Continuous deployment, continuous delivery, immune system

Reference: Rechenmacher, T., Riehle, D., & Weber, M. (2020). The JDownloader Immune System for Continuous Deployment. In Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2020), to appear.

Download: The paper is available a PDF file.

What Microservices Can Learn From Enterprise Information Integration (HICSS 53)

Abstract: Microservices are an architectural style in which each service typically provides the complete stack of functions from a user or application programming interface through a domain model all the way to storage for that model. As a consequence, querying conjunct data from different microservices becomes a non-trivial engineering task. In this article, we review older and established general data integration theory in the enterprise context and then compare current microservice practice with enterprise information integration (EII) theory as an established approach to data integration. We find that microservices do not utilize all possible approaches for data integration that are common in enterprises. Specifically, microservices use middleware only partially and databases are not used at all to integrate data. Therefore, we further investigate whether, when, and how these two approaches can be used in a microservices context and present our findings. With our findings, we (i) clear the way for fellow researchers to investigate and improve unused integration strategies with microservices and (ii) raise the awareness of practitioners that some integration strategies may not work out of the box with microservices as they do in EII.

Keywords: Microservices, data integration, enterprise Information integration, EII

Reference: Schwarz, G. & Riehle, D. (2020). What Microservices Can Learn From Enterprise Information Integration. In Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2020), to appear.

Download: The paper is available a PDF file.

Supporting Interview Analysis with Autocoding (HICSS 53)

Abstract: Interview analysis is a technique employed in qualitative research. Researchers annotate (code) interview transcriptions, often with the help of Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS). The tools available today largely replicate the manual process of annotation. In this article, we demonstrate how to use natural language processing (NLP) to increase the reproducibility and traceability of the process of applying codes to text data. We integrated an existing commercial machine–learning (ML) based concept extraction service into an NLP pipeline independent of domain specific rules. We applied our prototype in three qualitative studies to evaluate its capabilities of supporting researchers by providing recommendations consistent with their initial work. Unlike rule based approaches, our process can be applied to interviews from any domain, without additional burden to the researcher for creating a new ruleset. Our work using three example data sets shows that this approach shows promise for a real–life application, but further research is needed.

Reference: Kaufmann, A., Barcomb, A., & Riehle, D. (2020). Supporting Interview Analysis with Autocoding. In Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2020), to appear.

Download: The paper is available a PDF file.

Managing Commercial Conflicts of Interest in Open Source Foundations (ICSOB 2019)

Abstract: When companies opt to open source their software, they may choose to offer the project to an open source foundation. Donating the software to an open source foundation offers a number of advantages, such as access to the foundation’s existing tools and project management. However, in donating the software, the company relinquishes control of the software and grants other foundation members—including competitors—the same rights to the software. Using a multiple-case study research approach, this paper examines how foundations manage conflicts of interest in the open sourcing donation scenario. We find that foundations primarily use a set of well-defined mechanisms to prevent such conflicts from arising, and that the use of these mechanisms can depend on the foundation type.

Keywords: Open source foundations, sponsored open source, commercial open source, open source software, conflicts of interest

Reference: Weikert, F., Riehle, D., & Barcomb, A. (2019). Managing Commercial Conflicts of Interest in Open Source Foundations. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Software Business (ICSOB 2019). Springer Verlag.

The paper is available as a PDF file.

How Not to Ask Your Research Question (And What to do About it)

In software engineering, the structure of research theses, most notably dissertations, is straightforward: (1) Formulate a research question, choose a method, build a theory, then (2) generate at least one interesting hypothesis, choose a method, and test the hypothesis as part of the theory’s attempted validation. A dissertation can do both parts 1 and 2 or just one of them, relying on or leaving stuff to others. The benefit of this structure is that it will be easily recognized by other researchers and make it eas(ier) to write great papers.

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Enabling Open Innovation with Open Data using the JValue Open Data Service

Today I gave my JValue Open Data Service talk at USM (University of Sciences, Malaysia, at Penang). I am grateful for the opportunity and the recording.

Abstract: Open data has the potential to create significant practical value for its users through open innovation. Yet, to realize this value, we need an open ecosystem, next to open data, that allows app developers to create that value. In this talk I present my view of this open ecosystem of open data and how it should be structured. I then present the JValue Open Data Service (ODS), an open source software under development at my research group, that provides a key piece of this ecosystem. The goal of the JValue ODS project is to enable open innovation through app developers.

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