Skip to Main Content
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.