Introducing innovations into open source projects [Elektronische Ressource] / von Sinan Christopher Özbek

Introducing innovations into open source projects [Elektronische Ressource] / von Sinan Christopher Özbek

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Introducing Innovations intoOpen Source ProjectsDissertation zur Erlangung des Gradeseines Doktors der Naturwissenschaften (Dr. rer. nat.)am Fachbereich Mathematik und Informatikder Freien Universität BerlinvonSinan Christopher ÖzbekBerlinAugust 20102Gutachter:Professor Dr. Lutz Prechelt, Freie Universität Berlinr Kevin Crowston, Syracuse UniversityDatum der Disputation: 17.12.20104AbstractThis thesis presents a qualitative study using Grounded Theory Methodology on the question of how tochange development processes in Open Source projects. The mailing list communication of thirteenmedium-sized Open Source projects over the year 2007 was analyzed to answer this question. It resultedin eight main concepts revolving around the introduction of innovation, i.e. new processes, services,and tools, into the projects including topics such as the migration to new systems, the question onwhere to host services, how radical Open Source projects can change their ways, and how complianceto processes and conventions is enforced. These are complemented with (1) the result of five casestudies in which innovation introductions were conducted with Open Source projects, and with (2) atheoretical comparison of the results of this thesis to four theories and scientific perspectives from theorganizational and social sciences such as Path Dependence, the Garbage Can model, Social-Networkanalysis, and Actor-Network theory.

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Introducing Innovations into
Open Source Projects
Dissertation zur Erlangung des Grades
eines Doktors der Naturwissenschaften (Dr. rer. nat.)
am Fachbereich Mathematik und Informatik
der Freien Universität Berlin
von
Sinan Christopher Özbek
Berlin
August 20102Gutachter:
Professor Dr. Lutz Prechelt, Freie Universität Berlinr Kevin Crowston, Syracuse University
Datum der Disputation: 17.12.20104Abstract
This thesis presents a qualitative study using Grounded Theory Methodology on the question of how to
change development processes in Open Source projects. The mailing list communication of thirteen
medium-sized Open Source projects over the year 2007 was analyzed to answer this question. It resulted
in eight main concepts revolving around the introduction of innovation, i.e. new processes, services,
and tools, into the projects including topics such as the migration to new systems, the question on
where to host services, how radical Open Source projects can change their ways, and how compliance
to processes and conventions is enforced. These are complemented with (1) the result of five case
studies in which innovation introductions were conducted with Open Source projects, and with (2) a
theoretical comparison of the results of this thesis to four theories and scientific perspectives from the
organizational and social sciences such as Path Dependence, the Garbage Can model, Social-Network
analysis, and Actor-Network theory. The results show that innovation introduction is a multifaceted
phenomenon, of which this thesis discusses the most salient conceptual aspects. The thesis concludes
with practical advice for innovators and specialized hints for the most popular innovations.
56Acknowledgements
I want to thank the following individuals for contributing to the completion of this thesis:
• Lutz Prechelt for advising me over these long five years.
• Stephan Salinger and Florian Thiel for discussion and critique of methodology and results.
• Gesine Milde and Anja Kasseckert for countless hours of proof-reading, comma checking, and
browsing the dictionaries to find better words to spice up my poor writing.
• Many thanks go to my family who have always supported me in doing this Ph.D. and always
listened when I explained what it is exactly that I am doing.
• Aenslee, Anne, and Ulrike who each in their own style participated in the genesis of this thesis
and motivated me to persevere.
• Leonard Dobusch, Steven Evers, and Lina Böcker—in their facility as the Open Source Research
Network—for inspirational discussion in the early days of my thesis.
• Karl Beecher, Julia Schenk, Ulrich Stärk, Janine Rohde, Isabella Peukes, and Moritz Minzlaff for
proof-reading selected chapters.
• Martin Gruhn and Sebastian Jekutsch for keeping room 008 a great place for working.
• The Saros Team for providing a welcome relief from the sociological work of this thesis.
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