The Babel of software development : linguistic diversity in open source

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    Abstract

    Open source software (OSS) development communities are typically very specialised, on the one hand, and experience high turnover, on the other. Combination of specialization and turnover can cause parts of the system implemented in a certain programming language to become unmaintainable, if knowledge of that language has disappeared together with the retiring developers. Inspired by measures of linguistic diversity from the study of natural languages, we propose a method to quantify the risk of not having maintainers for code implemented in a certain programming language. To illustrate our approach, we studied risks associated with different languages in Emacs, and found examples of low risk due to high popularity (e.g., C, Emacs Lisp); low risk due to similarity with popular languages (e.g., C++, Java, Python); or high risk due to both low popularity and low similarity with popular languages (e.g., Lex). Our results show that methods from the social sciences can be successfully applied in the study of information systems, and open numerous avenues for future research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSocial Informatics (5th International Conference, SocInfo 2013, Kyoto, Japan, November 25-27, 2013. Proceedings)
    EditorsA. Jatowt, E.-P. Lim, Y. Ding
    Place of PublicationBerlin
    PublisherSpringer
    Pages391-404
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-03259-7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Eventconference; 5th International Conference on Social Informatics; 2013-11-25; 2013-11-27 -
    Duration: 25 Nov 201327 Nov 2013

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
    Volume8238
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743

    Conference

    Conferenceconference; 5th International Conference on Social Informatics; 2013-11-25; 2013-11-27
    Period25/11/1327/11/13
    Other5th International Conference on Social Informatics

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