Final Thesis: An Analysis of Work Rhythms in Open Source

Abstract: Is the development of Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) still like roughly 20 years ago, when a Finnish student wrote the basis of a nowadays successful operating systems in his spare time at home? Or is FLOSS becoming mainstream in the perception of companies? How much of the work on FLOSS is done during working hours?

To answer these questions, this thesis examines the history of over 9 000 projects. Based on the commit times, it is evaluated if open source software development has become commercial and if this fact can be shown using empirical data. As a prominent example, a special focus is put on the Linux kernel.

By analyzing the work rhythms in Open Source Development based on the time when each contributed change was performed, it can be shown that most of the development work is done during the working week on company time. In addition, trends spanning over a period of seven and eight years, respectively, are compared, providing insights about how the ratio of working to spare time
developers changed over time.

By measuring how much work is professionally performed based on a large variety of distinct projects, this thesis helps understanding the amount and impact of commercial entities on Free/Libre/Open Source Software development.

Keywords: Open source, software engineering, paid vs. volunteer work, work rhythm

PDFs: Master Thesis, Work Description

Reference: Philipp Riemer. An Analysis of Work Rhythms in Open Source. Master Thesis, Friedrich Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.