Letter to Stakeholders (Year-end 2012)

Overview and Summary

The Professur für Open-Source-Software (OSR Group) performs software engineering research and teaching with a focus on applications in industry. The professorship is led by Prof. Riehle. He also leads the research and teaching alliance applied software engineering, jointly with Prof. Hindel and Prof. Kips. The OSR Group has a major focus on open source software, both from a software engineering and from a software industry perspective. In 2012, research output in terms of publications was slightly down, student theses slightly increased, and so did industry sponsorship.

The group has a strong international focus: Existing research collaborations with groups in the United States continued through 2012 and research collaborations with groups in China intensified during 2012. Academic service was strong in 2012: We hosted a small but international workshop on software engineering in Erlangen, successfully supported the long-running ACM-supported conference WikiSym 2012, and are chairing the new and combined WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 conference, the “2013 Joint International Symposium on Open Collaboration”, in Hong Kong, China. In addition, 2012 was a year of intense public policy consulting to German politicians in Berlin.

Also, Prof. Riehle was on the road a lot, presenting a total of 26 invited talks at various research institutions, industry events, and software companies.

This 2012 year-end letter to stakeholders is available from our blog at osr.cs.fau.de/category/general/letters-to-stakeholders/ as always as are all prior editions.

Research and Teaching

We continued our existing research projects through 2012. Appendix A, publications, and Appendix B, student theses, provides some tangible output. Right now, the paper pipeline is full, with many publications expected for 2013.

  • The Sweble Platform (Hannes Dohrn, Dirk Riehle). The Sweble platform is a novel software system that empowers people without prior professional education in programming to program. The main research question is how to best achieve this for the estimated market of 18 million end-user programmers world-wide (over an estimated 3-5 million professionally educated programmers world-wide).
  • Open Source Analytics (Gottfried Hofmann, Mitchel Joblin, Wolfgang Mauerer, Dirk Riehle). Using the abundance of open source project data, we analyse in substantial empirical depth, how open source software engineering processes work and how to handle open source components in closed source projects. This is joint work with Wolfgang Mauerer of Siemens Corporate Technology.
  • Inner Source Software Development (Dirk Riehle, external partners). Open source has shown the world a better way of developing software, and our inner source project intends to answer the question how software companies can best learn from open source software development. This is joint work with industry partners how are introducing inner source to improve their development processes.
  • Open Source Governance (Dirk Riehle, external partners). Most software companies use open source software, many contribute to open source software, and some are leading open source software projects. Many issues arise from integrating open source with closed source, technically, process-wise, organizationally, culturally, and socially. This projects determines best practices of doing so.

In 2012, two wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter, Carsten Kolassa and Michel Salim, left the group. The were replaced by two new arrivals, Gottfried Hofmann and Mitchell Joblin, who both joined the Open Source Analytics project.

In 2013, a new wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Ann Barcomb, will join the group. She will be working on open source community management research, a new research project.

Collaborations and Teaching

University Collaborations incl. Teaching

Prof. Riehle continued his travels to China, advertising FAU’s degree programs, as well as building research collaborations. Good relationships exist now with Tsinghua University, Peking University (both in Beijing) and City University of Hong Kong.

A first joint research project with Prof. Bai of Tsinghua University investigated the effects of language and time-zone barriers to distributed software development. The project finished in July 2012 and is to be viewed as a first test balloon for (a) this particular research topic and (b) collaborating through international student exchange. The topic of distributed software development between German and Chinese companies or their subsidiaries is a topic of high interest to German industry and we expect to continue this work in 2013.

Several small projects continued with Prof. Schneider at City University of Hong Kong on open source software, open innovation, and organizational capabilities relating to these two topics. We are working on an instrument to assess a company’s capability to engage in open source software development and we trying to start a new project on open innovation through university-industry engagements.

Industry Collaborations incl. Teaching

Industry has shown a keen interest in our work and small-scale sponsorship has appeared. Sponsors in 2012 included Google, BearingPoint, and Bosch. We hope to extend such sponsorship and grow it significantly over the next few years. Below, please find a summary for the first three years of the Open Source Research Group at FAU:

Industry Sponsorship of OSR Group
  2012 2011 2010
Ph.D. students 0,5 0 (0,5) 0 (2 * 0,5)
Mini-projects 2
Total (in EUR) 47.500,00 580,00 (35.580,00) 0,00 (70.000,00)

(The numbers given in paranthesis represent early industry sponsorship provided to get the professorship set-up.)

During 2012, the following industry guests spoke in our courses:

  • Ulf Schubert (DATEV) on “Mach’s schön – Einführung in User Centered Design” (as part of PSWT)
  • Wolfgang Keller (Object Architects) on “IT-Unternehmensarchitektur – Ein Überblick” (as part of ARCH)
  • Victor Sauermann (DATEV) on “Die Rolle des Software-Architekten (as part of ARCH)
  • Andreas Türk (Google) on “Produktmanagement bei Google: Die Entstehung von YouTube Mobile” (as part of PROD)
  • Roman Anger (Cap Gemini) on “Software Architektur in der Praxis 1” (as part of ARCH)
  • Richard Seibt (Open Source Business Foundation) on “Motivation zum Unternehmertun”
  • Ralph Schlenk (Alcatel-Lucent) on “Software Architektur in der Praxis 2” (as part of ARCH)

Finally, the following two industry lecturers have now found a regular place in our curriculum:

  • Erich Meier (Method Park), co-lecturing (with Prof. Riehle) the Product Management course
  • Martin Jung (Develop Group), co-lecturing (with Prof. Riehle) the Software Architecture course

This help allowed us to introduce a new course during 2012, the Advanced Design and Programming course (lecture + exercise) which was well received by students. With this course, we have finished developing our software engineering curriculum (for now).

Research Conferences

Next to the usual reviewing activities and committee memberships (IST, JONS, SoSyM, STTT, JSS, ECOOP, SPLC, OSS, WikiSym, STiTC, SMC-HMS), we took or are taking a leading role in the following events:

  • OODACH workshop. This workshop, in its 20th year, brought together software engineering researchers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Topics were eclectic and drawn from the wide range of interests of the participating groups (which have known each other for even longer than 20 years). Read more on our blog.
  • WikiSym 2012. Prof. Riehle is the founder of the ACM supported WikiSym conference series and usually serves as its treasurer and organizational memory. WikiSym 2012 took place in Linz, Austria, and was a success. Read more on its website.
  • WikiSym + OpenSym 2013. In 2013, WikiSym will be co-located with the newly created conference OpenSym, forming the 2013 Joint International Symposium on Open Collaboration. WS+OS 2013 represents the next step in the evolution of this conference series and we can’t wait to see how it will turn out. Learn more at its website.

Further Information

2012 saw the founding of Netdosis AG, the first student-run start-up to come out of our group. Congratulations to entrepreneurs Johannes Link, Markus Stipp, and Christoph Wille! Prof. Riehle is on the supervisory board. Netdosis helps hospitals and pediatricians document, classify, and standardize drug dosage and related information. Learn more about Netdosis on its website or on this blog. Other start-ups are still in the making.

2012 also saw increased public policy consulting activities by Prof. Riehle, who visited Berlin many times. This consulting was part of his role as an expert advisory member to political parties engaged in the Internet enquete commission. Near the end of 2012 this consulting activity has been slowing down and we do not expect it to continue much into 2013.

Finally, in 2012, Prof. Riehle was traveling a lot, presenting a total of 26 invited talks at various research institutions, industry events, and software companies.

Thank You!

Closing this letter, we would like to say thank you to our research colleagues, industry partners, and engaged students. Thank you for another year of continued and growing trust and collaboration. We are looking forward to continuing this process!

Happy holidays and a happy new year to everyone!

For the research group,
Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle

December 2012

Appendix A: Publications in 2012

Abstracts and PDFs are available from dirkriehle.com/publications.

  • Martin Helmreich, Dirk Riehle. “Geschäftsrisiken und Governance von Open-Source in Softwareprodukten”. In Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik (HMD 283) 49. Jahrgang, Februar 2012. Page 17-25.
  • Dirk Riehle. “The Single-Vendor Commercial Open Source Business Model.” Information Systems and e-Business Management vol. 10, no. 1. Springer Verlag, 2012. Page 5-17. (Republished.)
  • Dirk Riehle, Sebastian Berschneider. “A Model of Open Source Developer Foundations.” In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2012). Springer Verlag, 2012. Page 15-28.
  • Dirk Riehle, Carsten Kolassa, Michel A. Salim. “Developer Belief vs. Reality: The Case of the Commit Size Distribution.” In Proceedings of Software Engineering 2012 (SE ’12). Springer Verlag, 2012. Page 59-70.
  • Dirk Riehle, Detlef Kips. Geplanter Inner Source: Ein Weg zur Profit-Center-übergreifenden Wiederverwendung. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Technical Report CS-2012-05 (November 2012). Erlangen, Germany, 2012.

Appendix B: Student Theses in 2012

Abstracts and PDFs are available from /category/theses/finished-theses/.

  • Ilja Kozevnikov. How and Why to Go Agile. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Mehrdad Golagha. Should Firms Disrupt Their Customers? Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Philipp Riemer. An Analysis of Work Rhythms in Open Source. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Simon Kramer. An Experiment on the Effects of Native Language Communication on Work Result Quality. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Tobias Bannenberg. Commercial Open Source Revenues at ETAS GmbH. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Holger Macht. A Case Study in Open Source Patch Submission. Studienarbeit, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Gottfried Hoffmann. Open Source Licenses and Project Growth. Diplomarbeit, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Stefan Genser. A Theory of The Effects of Gamification on Social Software. Bachelor Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Falko Saft. Improving the Agile Methods and Open Source Lab Course. Bachelor Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Florian Weikert. Product Features in Commercial Open Source Software. Bachelor Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.
  • Doris Hatz. Analyse, Vergleich und Erfolgsmethden für effektive Executive Summaries in studentischen Businessplänen. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2012.