A Case Study of Open Source Software Development: The Apache Server

TitleA Case Study of Open Source Software Development: The Apache Server
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsMockus, A., R. T. Fielding, and J. Herbsleb
Conference NameInternational Conference on Software Engineering
Date PublishedJune
PublisherACM Press
Conference LocationLimerick, Ireland
KeywordsApache web server, Code ownership, Defect density, Email archives, Open source software development, Productivity, Search engines, Software engineering, Software process improvement

According to its proponents, open source style software development has the capacity to compete successfully, and perhaps in many cases displace, traditional commercial development methods. In order to begin investigating such claims, we examine the development process of a major open source application, the Apache web server. By using email archives of source code change history and problem reports we quantify aspects of developer participation, core team size, code ownership, productivity, defect density, and problem resolution interval for this OSS project. This analysis reveals a unique process, which performs well on important measures. We conclude that hybrid forms of development that borrow the most effective techniques from both the OSS and commercial worlds may lead to high performance software processes.