Brooks’ Law in a Free Software context
Wednesday 7th May 2014, 6:30 pm.
Speaker: Dr. Paul James Adams, KDAB
Venue: Room 4.31, University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB.
Joint meeting with the Open Source Specialst Group
Refreshments and networking from 6:00 pm.
This event is free of charge and open to all. No registration required - just turn up.
Proponents of the Free Software paradigm have argued that some of the most established software engineering principles do not fully apply when considered in an open, distributed approach found in Free Software development. The objective of this talk is to empirically examine the Brooks’ Law in a Free Software context. The principle is separated out into its two primary premises.
The first is based on a developer’s ability to become productive when joining a new team; the second premise relates to the quality of coordination as the team grows. Three large projects are studied for this purpose: KDE, Plone and Evince. Based on empirical evidence, the talk provides two main contributions: based on the first premise of Brooks’ Law, it claims that coordination costs increase only in a very specific phase for Free Software projects. After that, these costs become quasi-constant.
Secondly, it shows that a ramp up period exists in Free Software projects, and this period marks the divide between projects that are successful at engaging new contributors from others that only benefit from occasional new contributors.
About the speaker