Inner Source

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Inner Source Defined

Inner Source is defined in (Stol 2011) as follows:

The leveraging of Open Source Software development practices within the confines of a corporate environment. As such, it refers to the process of developing software at an organization that has adopted OSS development practices.

Synonyms for this are the terms ‘‘Corporate Open Source’’ and ‘‘Progressive Open Source’’, as used by other authors. This definition subsumes the meaning of ‘‘Controlled Source’’ in POS; that is, Inner Source may occur within the context of a single organization, or a consortium of organizations.

My research focuses on how companies can benefit from OSS development practices and tools within the confines of their organization. It is important to note that the software product is still proprietary, rather than Open Source. The issue of licensing is therefore not applicable. When companies release their product as Open Source, this is not necessarily “Inner Source.”

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Inner Source at Lero

Lero is actively conducting research in the area of “OSS 2.0” and Inner Source. These are some relevant publications that discuss Inner Source.

  • Fitzgerald B (2006) The Transformation of Open Source Software, MIS Quarterly, 30(3) pp. 587-598.
  • Gaughan G, Fitzgerald B, Shaikh M (2009) An Examination of the use of Open Source Software Processes as a Global Software Development Solution for Commercial Software Engineering, Proceedings of the 35th Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications (SEAA) pp. 20-27.
  • Morgan L, Feller J, Finnegan P (2011) Exploring Inner Source as a Form of Intra-Organisational Open Innovation, Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS).
  • Stol K, Babar MA, Avgeriou P, and Fitzgerald B (2011) A comparative study of challenges in integrating Open Source Software and Inner Source software, Information and Software Technology (IST) vol. 53 (12) pp. 1319-1336.
  • Stol K, Avgeriou P, Babar MA, Lucas Y, and Fitzgerald B (2014) Key Factors for Adopting Inner Source, ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, forthcoming.

Inner Source Bibliography

See for the most complete bibliography on Inner Source.