Abstract: Corporate use of open source in software products is on the rise. While this brings a number of technological and business benefits to companies, it also comes with potential legal and financial risks caused by license non-compliance and ungoverned use of open source components. Companies address these threats with free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) governance – internal guidelines and processes for using open source components in products. An essential aspect of FLOSS governance is component reuse and component repository, which enable efficient governance for the previously used components by the company’s developers. In our study, we aimed to identify the current industry best practices for FLOSS governance and component reuse. We conducted 15 expert interviews in companies with high governance maturity, analyzed these interviews and derived 19 best practices cast in the pattern format of context-problem-solution. The format was inspired by design patterns and enables higher applicability of our research results by practitioners. The 19 best practices form a handbook on FLOSS governance and component reuse that also includes workflows connecting the individual practices into process templates.
Keywords: Open Source Software, FLOSS, FOSS, Open Source Governance, Best Practice, Commercial Use of Open Source, Component Repository, Component Reuse, Industry Best Practice, Introduction of FLOSS in Companies, Pattern, Pattern Language
Reference: Harutyunyan, N., & Riehle D. (2019). Industry Best Practices for FLOSS Governance and Component Reuse. In Proceedings of the 24th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2019). ACM, article no. 21.
The paper is available a PDF file.
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), pp. 5849-5858.
Download: The paper is available as a PDF file.
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), pp. 6559-6568.
Download: The paper is available a PDF file.
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), pp. 5513-5522.
Download: The paper is available a PDF file.
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), pp. 752-761.
Download: The paper is available a PDF file.
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, pp. 130-144.
The paper is available as a PDF file.
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.
Continue reading “How Not to Ask Your Research Question (And What to do About it)”
Abstract: Virtually all software products incorporate free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) components. However, ungoverned use of FLOSS components can result in legal and nancial risks, and risks to a rm’s intellectual property. To avoid these risks, companies must govern their FLOSS use through open source governance processes and by following industry best practices. A particular challenge is license compliance. To manage the complexity of governance and compliance, companies should use tools and well-de ned processes. This paper investigates and presents industry requirements for FLOSS governance tools, followed by an evaluation of the suggested requirements. We chose eleven companies with an advanced understanding of open source governance and interviewed their FLOSS governance experts to derive a theory of industry requirements for tooling. We list tool requirements on tracking and reuse of FLOSS components, license compliance, search and selection of components, and architecture model for software products. For practical relevance, we cast our theory as a requirements speci cation for FLOSS governance tools. We then analyzed the features of leading governance tools and used this analysis to evaluate two categories of our theory: FLOSS license scanning and FLOSS components in product bills of materials.
Keywords: Open Source Software, FLOSS, FOSS, Open Source Governance, FLOSS governance tools, company requirements for FLOSS tools.
Reference: Harutyunyan, N., Bauer, A., & Riehle, D. (2019). Industry Requirements for FLOSS Governance Tools to Facilitate the Use of Open Source Software in Commercial Products. Journal of Systems and Software vol. 158 (2019), 110390.
A preprint of the paper is available as a PDF file. This article is an expanded version, per invitation, of our OSS 2018 paper.
Abstract: Almost all software products today include open-source components. However, the obligations that open-source licenses put on their users can be difficult or undesirable to comply with. As a consequence, software vendors and related companies need to govern the process by which open-source components are included in their products. A key process of such open-source governance is license clearance, that is, the process by which a company decides whether a particular component’s license is acceptable for use in its products. In this article, we discuss this process, review the challenges it poses to software vendors, and provide unanswered research questions that result from it.
Keywords: Open source licenses, open source license compliance, software supply chain, product model
Reference: Riehle, D., & Harutyunyan, N. (2019). Open-Source License Compliance in Software Supply Chains. In Fitzgerald B., Mockus A., Zhou M. (eds) Towards Engineering Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) Ecosystems for Impact and Sustainability. Springer, Singapore, pp. 83-95.
A preprint of the paper is available as a PDF file and as a web page. Alternatively, you can pay Springer for the final version.
Abstract: Commercial use of open source software is on the rise as more companies realize the benefits of using FLOSS components in their products. At the same time, the ungoverned use of such components can result in legal, financial, intellectual property, and other risks. To mitigate these risks, companies must govern their use of open source through appropriate processes. This paper presents an initial theory of industry best practices on getting started with open source governance and compliance, focusing on private companies. Through a qualitative survey, we conducted and analyzed 15 expert interviews in companies with advanced capabilities in open source governance. We also studied practitioner reports on existing practices for introducing FLOSS governance processes. We cast our resulting initial theory in the actionable format of best practice patterns that, when combined, form a practical handbook of getting started with FLOSS governance in private companies.
Continue reading “Getting Started with FLOSS Governance and Compliance in Companies (OpenSym 2019)”