Problems, Solutions, and Success Factors in the openMDM User-Led Open Source Consortium [CAIS Journal]

Abstract: Open-source software (OSS) development offers organizations an alternative to purchasing proprietary software or commissioning custom software. In one form of OSS development, organizations develop the software they need in collaboration with other organizations. If the software is used by the organizations to operate their business, such collaborations can lead to what we call “user-led open-source consortia” or “user-led OSS consortia”. Although this concept is not new, there have been few studies of user-led OSS consortia. The studies that examined user-led OSS consortia did so through the lens of OSS, but not from the inter-company collaboration perspective. User-led OSS consortia are a distinct phenomenon that share elements of inter-company collaboration, outsourcing software development, and vendor-led OSS development and cannot be understood by using only a single lens. To close this gap, we present problems and solutions in inter-company collaboration, outsourcing, and OSS literature, and present the results of a single-case study. We focus on problems in the early phases of a user-led open-source consortium, the openMDM consortium, and the solutions applied to these problems. Furthermore, we present the factors which lead this consortium to sustained growth.  

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The Benefits of Pre-Requirements Specification Traceability [RE 2022]

Abstract: Requirements traceability is the ability to trace requirements to other software engineering artifacts. Traceability can be classified as either pre- or post-requirements specifications (RS) traceability. Pre-RS traceability is the ability to trace between requirements and their origin. However, the benefits of pre-RS traceability are often not clear. In this article, we systematically lay out the benefits of pre-RS traceability. We present results from both a literature review and a qualitative survey of practitioners involved with documenting and utilizing such trace links. We find that the benefits strongly depend on the practitioners, their tasks, and the project environment. Awareness of these relationships supports a clearer understanding of the benefits of pre-RS traceability and thus motivates successful implementation of the required practices. The results of our research motivates the adoption of pre-RS traceability and present problem areas for future research.

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The Open Source Distributor Business Model [Computer Magazine]

I’m happy to report that the 18th article in the Open Source Expanded column of IEEE Computer has been published.

TitleThe Open Source Distributor Business Model
KeywordsOpen source distributor, open source distribution, open source business model, open source sustainability
AuthorsDirk Riehle
PublicationComputer vol. 54, no. 12 (December 2021), pp. 99-103

Abstract: This article defines and discusses one particular commercial open source business model, called the (open source) distributor model. It can attract significant venture capital, thereby contributing to the long-term sustainability of open source.

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

Also, check out the full list of articles.

Calculating the Costs of Inner Source Collaboration by Computing the Time Worked [HICSS 2022]

Abstract: A key part of taxation, controlling, and management of international collaborative programming workflows is determining the costs of a supplied software artifact. The OECD suggests the use of the Cost Plus method for calculating these costs. However, in the past, this method has been implemented using only coarse-grain data from the costs of whole organizational units. Due to the move to inner source software development, we need a much more fine-grain solution for computing the detailed time spent on programming specific components. This is necessary, because a more accurate work time distribution is required to fulfill the fiscal and administrative challenges posed by collaborating across organizational boundaries. In this article, we present a novel method to determine the time spent on an individual code contribution (commit) to a software component for use within cost calculation, especially for taxation purposes. We demonstrate the usefulness of our approach by application to a real-world data set gathered at a large multi-national corporation. We evaluate our work through feedback received from this corporation and from the German Ministry of Finance.

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A Validation of QDAcity‑RE for Domain Modeling Using Qualitative Data Analysis [RE Journal]

Abstract: Using qualitative data analysis (QDA) to perform domain analysis and modeling has shown great promise. Yet, the evaluation of such approaches has been limited to single-case case studies. While these exploratory cases are valuable for an initial assessment, the evaluation of the efficacy of QDA to solve the suggested problems is restricted by the common single-case case study research design. Using our own method, called QDAcity-RE, as the example, we present an in-depth empirical evaluation of employing qualitative data analysis for domain modeling using a controlled experiment design. Our controlled experiment shows that the QDA-based method leads to a deeper and richer set of domain concepts discovered from the data, while also being more time efficient than the control group using a comparable non-QDA-based method with the same level of traceability.

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Pattern Discovery and Validation Using Scientific Research Methods [TPLoP Journal]

Abstract: Pattern discovery, the process of discovering previously unrecognized patterns, is often performed as an ad-hoc process with little resulting certainty in the quality of the proposed patterns. Pattern validation, the process of validating the accuracy of proposed patterns, remains dominated by the simple heuristic of “the rule of three”. This article shows how to use established scientific research methods for the purpose of pattern discovery and validation. We present a specific approach, called the handbook method, that uses the qualitative survey, action research, and case study research for pattern discovery and evaluation, and we discuss the underlying principle of using scientific methods in general. We evaluate the handbook method using three exploratory studies and demonstrate its usefulness.

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Creating and Growing Healthy Community Open Source Projects [PLoP 2020]

Abstract: This article presents a succinct and minimal handbook of best practices of how to create and grow community open source projects. We start with the assumption that the handbook’s user has a minimal but useful piece of software at hand that they want to open source and build a community around.

Keywords: Open source, open source projects, open source communities, creating open source projects, growing open source projects

Reference:  Riehle, D. (2020). Creating and Growing Community Open Source Projects. In Proceedings of the 27th Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2020). ACM, 14 pages.

The paper can be downloaded as a PDF file.

Industry Best Practices for Component Approval in Open Source Governance [EuroPLoP 2020]

Abstract: Increasingly companies realize the value of using free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) in their products, but need to manage the associated risks. Leading companies introduce open source governance as a solution. A key aspect of corporate FLOSS governance deals with choosing and evaluating open source components for use in products. Following an industry-based research approach, we present 13 best practices in the pattern format of context-problem-solutions paired with consequences. In this paper, we cover an excerpt of the Component Approval section of our FLOSS governance handbook. This article builds upon our previous EuroPLoP publication covering Component Reuse in FLOSS governance processes, as well as other publications on the topic. Analyzing qualitative data gathered from 15 expert interviews, we derive and interconnect the common industry recommendations for reviewing, tracking, and approving open source components in a company environment. We conclude by presenting workflow templates that put various best practices in relation to each other.

Keywords: Commercial use of open source, component approval, FLOSS, FOSS, industry best practice, open source software, open source governance, pattern language

Reference: Harutyunyan, N. & Riehle, D. (2020). Industry Best Practices for Component Approval in FLOSS Governance. In Proceedings of the 25th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP ’20). ACM, article 33.

The paper can be downloaded as a PDF file.

The Innovations of Open Source Article Republished in IEEE Computing Edge’s April 2020 Issue

IEEE’s Computing Edge magazine is a practitioner-oriented publication that republishes particularly popular content from other IEEE publications. In the April 2020 issue, they republished last year’s The Innovations of Open Source article that I wrote to open the Computer magazine’s Open Source Expanded bimonthly column.

Best of all, it is free! (Original version, local copy.)

I didn’t know about the republication until someone pointed me to it. Check it out, if you missed the article the first time around.

Single-Vendor Open Source Firms [Computer Magazine]

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

TitleSingle-Vendor Open Source Firms
KeywordsOpen Source, Single-vendor Open Source, Commercial Open Source
AuthorsDirk Riehle, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg
PublicationComputer vol. 53, no. 4 (April 2020), pp. 68-72

Abstract: This article present a particular business model for commercial open source firms, called the single-vendor open source model. This model has long dominated venture capital funding for open source software firms, contributing to the long-term sustainability of open source. As such, it is of high economic relevance. It is also an excellent example to show how open source licensing and related strategies really are just tools in the design of a business model and not philosophies.

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

Also, check out the full list of articles.