In general, open source refers to a program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design. Open source code is classically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers get better upon the code and share the changes within the community.
Open source sprouted in the technological community as a response to proprietary software owned by corporations. Open source software development can be alienated into several phases. The phases specified here are derived from Sharma et al. A diagram exhibiting the process-data structure of open source software development is shown on the right. In this picture, the phases of open source software development are displayed, along with the corresponding data elements.
This diagram is made using the meta-modeling and meta-process modeling techniques.
The procedure starts with a choice between the adopting of an existing project, or the starting of a new project. If a new project is started, the procedure goes to the beginning phase. If an existing project is adopted, the process goes unswervingly to the Execution phase.
It is hard to run an open source project subsequent a more traditional software development method like the waterfall model, because in these traditional methods it is not allowable to go back to a previous phase. In open source software development requirements are rarely gathered before the start of the project; instead they are based on early releases of the software product, as Robbins describes. In addition requirements, frequently volunteer staff is attracted to help develop the software product based on the early releases of the software.
This networking effect is necessary according to Abrahamsson et al: “if the introduced prototype gathers enough attention, it will gradually start to attract more and more developers”. On the other hand, Abrahamsson et al. also point out that the community is very harsh, much like the business world of closed source software: “if you find the customers you survive, but without customers you die”.
Conventionally, in most of the open source there was a general lack of awareness for automated tests, in which one writes mechanical test scripts and programs that run the software and try to find out if it behaves correctly. In recent times, however, this awareness has been growing, possibly because of influence from Extreme Programming, and because of some high-profile software packages that incorporated such test suites. Most open source software is either command line or alternatively APIs and as such is very easy to test mechanically.
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