Modelling Mailing List Behaviour in Open Source Projects: the Case of ARM Embedded Linux
Sergio L. Toral (University of Seville, Spain)
Rocío Martínez Torres (University of Seville, Spain)
Federico Barrero (University of Seville, Spain)
Abstract: One of the benefits firms can derive from using Open Source Software (OSS) is informal development collaboration, and the primary tool for collaboration and coordination are group mailing lists. The purpose of the paper is modelling mailing lists behaviour in OSS projects, using a set of descriptors that could inform about their quality and their evolution. As a case study, a mailing list focused on ARM embedded Linux has been selected. Messages posted to this list from 2001 to 2006 have been extracted, and factor analysis has been applied to obtain the underlying patterns of behaviours. Theory about communities of practice has been used to understand the meaning of the extracted patterns. Their time distribution is finally described. The paper provides new insights into the behaviour of mailing list as a source of support for OSS projects and highlights the importance of an involved core of individuals inside the community.
Keywords: collaborative work, embedded systems, information systems, open source projects, social networks, virtual communities, web-based communities
Categories: H.3.5, H.4.3