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Open Source Software: Lessons from and for Software Engineering

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1 Author(s)
Fitzgerald, B. ; Lero - the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre

Despite initial suggestions to the contrary, open source software projects exhibit many of the fundamental tenets of software engineering. Likewise, the existence of category-killer apps suggests that conventional software engineering can draw some lessons from OSS. Open source software can elicit strongly contrasting reactions. Advocates claim that OSS is high-quality software produced on a rapid time scale and for free or at very low cost by extremely talented developers. At the same time, critics characterize OSS as variable-quality software that has little or no documentation, is unpredictable as to stability or reliability, and rests on an uncertain legal foundation-the result of a chaotic development process that is completely alien to software engineering fundamental tenets and conventional wisdom.

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 10 )