Monthly Archives: February 2016

Open Source Practices and Tools

Open Source plays an important role in industry in various ways. This theme focuses on open source practices and tools. We investigated how OSS developers use microblogging (Twitter), why and how they employ time-based releases, and how they select their tools in the context of a volunteer-driven community. [IEEE Software 2013][IEEE Software 2015][ICSE (SEIP) 2016]

How Do Free/Open Source Developers Pick Their Tools?

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has come to play a critical role in the global software industry. Organizations are widely adopting FOSS and interacting with open source communities, and hence organizations have a considerable interest in seeing these communities flourishing. Very little research has focused on the tools used to develop that software. Given the absence of organizational policies and mandate that would occur in a traditional environment, an open question is how FOSS developers decide what tools to use. In this paper we report on a policy delphi study conducted in the Debian Project, one of the largest FOSS projects. Drawing from data collected in three phases from a panel of 21 experts, we identified 15 factors that affect their decision to adopt tools. This in turn can help FOSS communities to define a suitable policy of actions, in order to improve their processes.

Grounded Theory in Software Engineering

Grounded Theory (GT) has proved an extremely useful research approach in several fields including medical sociology, nursing, education and management theory. However, GT is a complex method based on an inductive paradigm that is fundamentally different from the traditional hypothetico-deductive research model. As there are at least three variants of GT, some ostensibly GT research suffers from method slurring, where researchers adopt an arbitrary subset of GT practices that are not recognizable as GT. In this paper, we describe the variants of GT and identify the core set of GT practices. We then analyze the use of grounded theory in software engineering. We carefully and systematically selected 98 articles that mention GT, of which 52 explicitly claim to use GT, with the other 46 using GT techniques only. Only 16 articles provide detailed accounts of their research procedures. We offer guidelines to improve the quality of both conducting and reporting GT studies. The latter is an important extension since current GT guidelines in software engineering do not cover the reporting process, despite good reporting being necessary for evaluating a study and informing subsequent research.