Lero — the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre

Welcome to this web site, where I detail my research in pursuit of the doctorate degree at the University of Limerick, partially funded by Lero — the Irish Software Engineering Research Institute. My supervisors are Prof. Brian Fitzgerald and Dr. Kieran Conboy, and you can find out more about me if you want.

Research overview

I investigate the use and adoption (or rejection) of tools and techniques in the Debian Project. Specifically, I am investigating why some approaches to packaging and package maintenance spread very quickly, while others never get more than a few users.

The question of why people adopt or reject innovations is at the core of diffusion research. Diffusion research is a busy field with thousands of studies seeking to find out what causes adoption and rejection of ideas, tools, techniques, products, strategies, and theories in a multitude of social systems.

The social system I investigate is the group of Debian package maintainers, but my research is equally applicable to most other FLOSS projects, which are characterised by voluntary involvement, global cooperation, and high levels of interdependency. I chose Debian because of my background and motivation for this research.

Influences to adoption decisions

My goal is to capture the salient influences to package maintainers' adoption or rejection decisions in an unambiguous and comprehensive way.

Knowledge of these influences could help everyone distribute tools and techniques among Debian package maintainers, fostering competition and driving progress. It should streamline Debian package maintenance, increase the efficiency of every volunteer contributor, and allow the project to scale better.

Moreover, the findings should be applicable to other volunteer projects, as well as management science, where a trend exists towards treating employees as volunteers by giving them increased amounts of autonomy.

If you are interested in how I plan to achieve this goal, please read about my research approach.

I am not aware of any other research endeavours that investigate the diffusion of innovations in a FLOSS project. If you know of such a study, please let me know.

Research documentation

I document the progress at various stages during my research endeavour. Such documents constitute a good reference for those who are interested in my research beyond the broad overview given on these pages. The series of documents also captures the evolution of the research itself, which hardly ever remains constant throughout its period. This also means that these documents do not necessarily reflect the current research. Ask me if you have any doubt or questions!

Initially, I put plans and theories into words and described intentions in research proposals. As a student of the British university system (used by the University of Limerick), I started off on the Masters track and had to convince a board of examiners that my research is at Ph.D. level before becoming a proper Ph.D. student.

Table of contents


Please cite this web page as follows: Krafft, Martin F. "Process evolution in large open-source projects." Process evolution in large open-source projects:. 14 Jun 2011. Martin Krafft, University of Limerick. <http://phd.martin-krafft.net/index.html>. Last accessed: [DATE ACCESSED].

This page was last modified Tue Nov 2 12:45:31 2010.

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