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How to characterize the health of an Open Source Software project?: A snowball literature review of an emerging practice
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Digital Systems, Mobility and Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9851-1404
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Digital Systems, Mobility and Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5157-8131
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Digital Systems, Mobility and Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2933-1925
2022 (English)In: ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. 7 September 2022, Article number 11, Association for Computing Machinery , 2022Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Motivation: Society's dependence on Open Source Software (OSS) and the communities that maintain the OSS is ever-growing. So are the potential risks of, e.g., vulnerabilities being introduced in projects not actively maintained. By assessing an OSS project's capability to stay viable and maintained over time without interruption or weakening, i.e., the OSS health, users can consider the risk implied by using the OSS as is, and if necessary, decide whether to help improve the health or choose another option. However, such assessment is complex as OSS health covers a wide range of sub-topics, and existing support is limited. Aim: We aim to create an overview of characteristics that affect the health of an OSS project and enable the assessment thereof. Method: We conduct a snowball literature review based on a start set of 9 papers, and identify 146 relevant papers over two iterations of forward and backward snowballing. Health characteristics are elicited and coded using structured and axial coding into a framework structure. Results: The final framework consists of 107 health characteristics divided among 15 themes. Characteristics address the socio-technical spectrum of the community of actors maintaining the OSS project, the software and other deliverables being maintained, and the orchestration facilitating the maintenance. Characteristics are further divided based on the level of abstraction they address, i.e., the OSS project-level specifically, or the project's overarching ecosystem of related OSS projects. Conclusion: The framework provides an overview of the wide span of health characteristics that may need to be considered when evaluating OSS health and can serve as a foundation both for research and practice. © 2022 Owner/Author.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery , 2022.
Keywords [en]
Health, Open Source Software, Software Ecosystem, Software Quality., Sustainability, Computer software selection and evaluation, Ecosystems, Health risks, Open systems, Risk assessment, Health characteristics, Literature reviews, Open source software projects, Open-source softwares, Potential risks, Project capability, Software ecosystems, Software Quality, Sub topics
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-61218DOI: 10.1145/3555051.3555067Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85139099545ISBN: 9781450398459 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-61218DiVA, id: diva2:1716985
Conference
18th International Symposium on Open Collaboration, OpenSym 2022, 6 September 2022 through 10 September 2022
Note

Funding text 1: Finance: Finance-related characteristics describe the financial support (a-fin-2) in terms of funding and sponsorship provided to or accepted by the OSS community, and the general financial stability (a-fin-1) of the actors in the community that are maintaining or contributing to the OSS project. These characteristics thereby help to answer the question how financially viable actors are in an OSS community in terms of being able to dedicate their time and resources to the long-term maintenance of the OSS project.

Available from: 2022-12-07 Created: 2022-12-07 Last updated: 2023-05-22Bibliographically approved

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Linåker, JohanPapatheocharous, EfiOlsson, Thomas

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