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Levels of Formality in FOSS Communities

Schofield, AJ and Cooper, GS (2007) Levels of Formality in FOSS Communities. IFIP - International Federation for Information Processing, 234. ISSN 1861-2288

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Abstract

One of the aspects of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) which may act as a significant deterrent to its adoption, is the method used to collaboratively develop the software and provide support through the use of communities. It is not until this method is examined more closely that its many advantages can be realised. The method can, however, seem very disorganised especially when compared with traditional proprietary development styles. A key difference between these two development approaches lies in the management of projects, and perhaps as a consequence, in the level of formality in the community environment. This paper presents the results of empirical survey research investigating FOSS community participants' views on the level of formality in FOSS, and the way in which this affects both development and support provision activities. The paper then concludes by analysing what can be learnt from the participant’s views.

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