Diagramming practices in open source software development Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/bc386m26d

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  • Visual information presented in diagrams promotes information processing both in an individual and in collaborative work. Previous literature has identified the role of diagrams in understanding information processing in a variety of disciplines. In software engineering, diagrams are a prevalent method involved in process development: diagrams are used for system comprehension, design of architecture, design and improvement of usability and communication with developers. Free/Open Source software (FOSS) development is a highly distributed environment where developers and users share content over multiple sites and communicate through computer-mediated channels. However, prior research lacks a deep understanding of diagramming practices in OSS. To understand how and why diagramming practices occur in FOSS, we first conducted interviews with nine contributors from a single project, Ubuntu. Next, to generalize our study, we conducted a large-scale survey with contributors from a wide range of FOSS communities as well as follow-up interviews that provided insights into understanding their diagramming practices. We found that although contributors mostly agree that diagram use has positive effects toward development, FOSS contributors occasionally are not willing to use them due to a lack of supporting tools outside of the conventions related to FOSS culture. We propose that diagramming practices can support and promote collaboration in FOSS. This thesis is composed of three manuscripts. First, we study diagramming practices in the Ubuntu project. Second, we report diagramming practices, focusing on design-oriented activities in which developers and designers extensively use diagrams in collocated development. We also investigate whether or not OSS contributors appreciate diagramming practices for design-oriented activities in non-collocated development. We finally report how and why diagramming practices occur in FOSS communities.
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