For researchers, the open source communities provide large datasets of historical information related to evolution of software architectures, developers’ networks, and communication networks. Network analysis can be applied to these large data sets in order to gain a better understanding of dynamic processes on these networks and to formulate some theoretical frameworks and models. One goal for Alma Orucevic-Alagic is to see if such models can be beneficial when applied in closed software development environment.
Alma Orucevic-Alagic’s research examines open source software and underlining development practices, developers’ and source code networks in order to assess some potential benefits of their applicability within a closed development context. Alma is a PhD student with Software Engineering Research Group at LTH’s Computer Science Department.
Alma’s research into the world of Open Source software was initially motivated by the industry’s adoption of many open source software products.
- Often, the software products were large scale, complex and mature, yet developed by a community that in many major aspects was diametrically opposed to the traditional closed source development environments, says Alma.
Open source communities mostly engage developers who contribute the work on voluntary bases primarily communicating in an online type of environment. While communities can have different governance forms, ranging from sole dictatorships to councils, where meritocracy is a key factor in determining developers’ rank and therefore rights with respect to the project.
Alma explains that over the last decade industry has recognized various benefits of open source software ranging from using the “free” software as a third party component or as an internal productivity tool to commercializing support for various open source software products. More recently, collaboration through an open source community often governed by a company has become a way for industry to share development costs as well as to secure leadership role. Open source development practices have also been studied and some of the aspects applied within a closed company setting. Software developed in this way is also known as closed open source or inner source.
In-house open source
Another area for Almas’ research is the growing use of open source as a method for in-house development. As companies embark on the world of open source, new and often often unforeseen challenges tend to creep up. Using “free” software, especially within own software products tends to create a lasting bond to the open source community that produces the software from the perspective of open source software licensing as well as software maintenance.
- Applying open source software development practices in-house challenges traditional software development practices used for decades like communication channels, its transparency and the developers’ roles, says Alma.
Alma comes from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has completed her undergraduate and master degree studies in the USA where she has also acquired industry experience. Here interests involve computer science, mathematics and analysis of large data sets.