Women in Open Source: We Need to Talk About It (Trinkenreich et al., IEEE Computer Column)

I’m happy to report that the 22nd article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleWomen in Open Source: We Need to Talk About It
AuthorsBianca Trinkenreich, Marco Aurelio Gerosa, and Igor Steinmacher (Northern Arizona University)
PublicationComputer vol. 55, no. 12 (December 2022), pp. 145-149

Abstract: Women are underrepresented in open source projects, causing them to lose career and skill-development opportunities. This article highlights the challenges that women face being a part of open source projects and lists a set of strategies that communities can implement to mitigate these issues.

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

Also, check out the full list of articles.

Open Source License Inconsistencies on GitHub [TOSEM Journal]

Abstract: Almost all software, open or closed, builds on open source software and therefore needs to comply with the license obligations of the open source code. Not knowing which licenses to comply with poses a legal danger to anyone using open source software. This article investigates the extent of inconsistencies between licenses declared by an open source project at the top level of the repository, and the licenses found in the code. We analysed a sample of 1,000 open source GitHub repositories. We find that about half of the repositories did not fully declare all licenses found in the code. Of these, approximately ten percent represented a permissive vs. copyleft license mismatch. Furthermore, existing tools cannot fully identify licences. We conclude that users of open source code should not only look at the declared licenses of the open source code they intend to use, but rather examine the software to understand its actual licenses.

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Challenges of Working From Home in Software Development During COVID-19 Lockdowns [TOSEM Journal]

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2022 and the resulting lockdowns forced many companies to switch to working from home, swiftly, on a large scale, and without preparation. This situation created unique challenges for software development, where individual software professionals had to shift instantly from working together at a physical venue to working remotely from home. Our research questions focus on the challenges of software professionals who work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which we studied empirically at a German bank. We conducted a case study employing a mixed methods approach. We aimed to cover both the breadth of challenges via a quantitative survey, as well as a deeper understanding of these challenges via the follow-up qualitative analysis of fifteen semi-structured interviews. In this paper, we present the key impediments employees faced during the crisis, as well as their similarities and differences to the known challenges in distributed software development (DSD). We also analyze the employees’ job satisfaction and how the identified challenges impact the job satisfaction. In our study, we focus on challenges in collaboration, communication, management, and tooling. The findings of the study provide insights into this emerging topic of high industry relevance. At the same time, the study contributes to the existing academic research on work from home and on the COVID-19 pandemic aftermath.

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Open Source Legal Debt

Open source legal debt is unwanted open-source code in your products and projects.

Code may be unwanted, if it does not fit your (a company’s) business model. An example is code that has been copied from StackOverflow into your code base. That’s because code from StackOverflow has a copyleft license, which means that as you distribute your software, you can only use the license StackOverflow uses, not your own. According to this license, those who receive your software are free to pass it on, for free, and you can’t do anything about it.

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Non-Software-Industry User-Led Open-Source Consortia

tl;dr We observe sustained growth in what we call non-software-industry user-led open-source consortia. These are open-source consortia (non-profit organizations) created by companies from outside the software industry with the goal of developing the applications these companies need to run their business. Their behaviors are different from other open-source consortia and we can see this expressed in their governance rules.

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Two Issue Break of IEEE Computer Column Open Source Expanded

Thanks to this editor’s inability to wield their whip effectively, the IEEE Computer magazine’s column Open Source Expanded is taking a two issue break: There wasn’t an August 2022 article and there won’t be an October 2022 article in IEEE Computer magazine. We will resume our regular bi-monthly schedule in December 2022. Until then you may enjoy rereading some of the old articles. Thank you for your patience and continued support.

Management Accounting Concepts for Inner Source Software Engineering [ICSOB 2022]

Abstract: Inner source software development is the use of open source development’s best practices inside a company. In inner source, developers collaborate on reusable software components across company-internal organizational silo boundaries for mutual benefit. As such, inner source goes against the grain of traditional management techniques. In this article, we present two conceptual models of management accounting for inner source. We derived these prototypes by performing a literature review and triangulating the results with interviews of industry practitioners. We demonstrate how the conceptual models can be used for monitoring and controlling inner source projects and to determine their future viability.

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A Research Model for the Economic Assessment of Inner Source Software Development [HICSS 2023]

Abstract: Inner source is the use of open-source practices within companies. It enables more efficient software development, shortens time-to-market, and lowers costs through increased company-internal collaboration. While existing studies examine social and organizational impact factors on inner source adoption, only a few have looked at measuring and economically assessing inner source. This article presents an overview of current research regarding inner source, its measurement, economic assessment, and impact on businesses and their processes. Based on a systematic literature review we build a research model for economic inner source assessment. This research model shows thematic dependencies between the economic impact of inner source and its measurement. Additionally, it proposes research questions and hypotheses on measuring, economically assessing, and subsequently adopting inner source.

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