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[ox-en] software development as a social model (Modified by Geert Lovink)

* Linux Insider (10/02/06) Lyman, Jay *

Computer science researchers at the University of California Davis will use a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to examine the development of open source systems such as the Apache Web server, PosterSQL, and the Python scripting language. The suspicion is that open source systems succeed where commercial proprietary programs fail because they avoid the developmental process where the speed of production is determined by the slowest contributor. The case of Mozilla suggests that the modularity implemented by open source systems increase volunteerism, because anyone can contribute at any time. UC Davis lead researcher and computer science professor Premkuma Devanbu says, "The belief in the open source software community is that open source turns on all the available brain power, full blast, on every problem, challenge, or opportunity." The purpose of the study is to put such ideas to the test, in order to get empirical evidence. Many stress that open source development benefits from the fact that contributors are not motivated by getting paid, and can choose what they work on. As no meetings and the lowest level of synchronization are necessary when using open source software, development can occur at parallel levels simultaneously, rather than requiring each step in the process to occur sequentially. The researchers will monitor emails, message boards, and bug reports for insights into what makes open source development projects successful. Devanbu says the case of Linux shows that *modularity improves the quality of the software developed, and that "good design allows implementation to proceed with maximum parallelism and minimum synchronization and coordination."*

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