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Herding Cats: A Case Study of Release Management in an Open Collaboration Ecosystem

Abstract : Release management in large-scale software development projects requires significant communication and coordination. It is particularly challenging in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) ecosystems, in which hundreds of loosely connected developers and their projects need to be coordinated to release software to a schedule. To better understand this process and its challenges, we analyzed over two and half years of communication in the GNOME ecosystem and studied developers’ interactions. We cataloged communication channels, categorized high level communication and coordination activities in one of them, and triangulated our results by interviewing developers. We found that a release schedule, influence instead of direct control, and diversity are factors that impact positively the release process in the GNOME ecosystem. Our results can help organizations build better large-scale teams and show that research focused on individual projects might miss important parts of the picture.
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Germán Poo-Caamaño, Leif Singer, Eric Knauss, Daniel German. Herding Cats: A Case Study of Release Management in an Open Collaboration Ecosystem. 12th IFIP International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS), May 2016, Gothenburg, Sweden. pp.147-162, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-39225-7_12⟩. ⟨hal-01369060⟩

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