Measuring Software Quality in Open Source Communities Through the Lens of Social Capital

Steve Whyte, Maurice McNaughton, Delroy Chevers, Michelle McLeod


In this paper we propose a model for assessing free and open source software (FOSS) product quality by examining the social relations that exist within FOSS communities and the extent to which the social network structures and/or the quality of trust relationships amongst key members within these communities’ impact product quality. Empirical studies suggest an increase in the adoption of FOSS products both for personal use as well as in mission critical IT systems in organizations. Consequently, as individuals and firms consider adopting FOSS solutions they are faced with the challenge of evaluating the uncertainties of key software quality related facets and this challenge is further compounded by the findings of empirical studies that argue that FOSS product quality is difficult to determine using established traditional quality models. Additionally, empirical studies argue that the centrality of members who report software bugs influences the extent to which bugs are resolved which by extension impacts on product quality. Using the constructs and measures associated with the structural and relational dimensions of social capital theory, this paper proposes a theoretical model to explore the social interactions between open source project members by examining both the social network structures as well as the quality of member relationships, using appropriate social network measures. The model also examines the extent to which these relationships are moderated by the average weighted centrality of members who report bugs in these communities. 

Palabras clave

Social Capital, Software Quality, Free and Open Source Software, Social Network Analysis

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La Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas (UCI), a través del sello editorial Ediciones Futuro, publica los contenidos de la Revista Cubana de Ciencias Informáticas (RCCI) bajo licencia Creative Commons de tipo Atribución 4.0 Internacional (CC BY 4.0). Esta licencia permite a otros distribuir, mezclar, ajustar y construir a partir de su obra, incluso con fines comerciales, siempre que le sea reconocida la autoría de la creación original.