The role of Internet in the development of future software projects

The role of Internet in the development of future software projects,10.1108/10662241011020842,Internet Research,M. Rocío Martínez-Torres,Sergio L. Tor

The role of Internet in the development of future software projects   (Citations: 2)
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Purpose – The Internet has evolved, prompted in part by new Web 2.0 technologies, to become a more widespread platform for interaction, communication, and activism. Virtual communities, or groups of people informally bound together by shared expertise, synthesise this Internet evolution and the Web 2.0 technology. Users increasingly want to engage online with one another and with organisations of all kinds. These novel Internet-based technologies dominate the new business models of the digital economy giving companies radical new ways to harvest the talents of innovators working outside corporate boundaries. One of the most illustrative examples of this new trend is the Open Source Software (OSS) projects development. This paper aims to analyse the structure and topology of the virtual community supporting one of the most successfully OSS projects, Linux. The objective is to provide conclusions for being successful in the development of future virtual communities. As companies learn to manage these virtual communities, they will develop smarter and faster ways to create value through them. Design/methodology/approach – The interactions of the virtual community members of an ARM-embedded Linux project website is analysed through social network analysis techniques. The participants' activity is studied and some conclusions about the participation features are obtained using the Gini coefficient. In particular, a participation inequality behaviour or a concentration on a small number of developers is clearly observed. Findings – The paper deals with the guidelines that virtual communities should follow to be successful. Results about the structure of a successful virtual community and its time evolution are provided to determine the mentioned guidelines. Research limitations/implications – The research is limited to a particular virtual community engaged with the development of the ARM-embedded Linux OSS. Other successful virtual communities can be analysed, and the conclusions could be compared. Anyway, the proposed analysis methodology can be extended to other virtual communities. Originality/value – The paper fulfils the development and features of Internet virtual communities to be successful. Results have important implications over the development of new software business models based on virtual communities and open source software. Contributions about the best organisation of virtual communities leading to a successful development of the underlying project are presented.
Journal: Internet Research , vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 72-86, 2010
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