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Workshop on Open Source Software Development

This workshop was held at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 25-26 February 2002

The conference proceedings are available to download (7.5M pdf).

The focus of the workshop

The focus of the Open Source Software Development workshop is on dependability and open source software development. Dependability is a deliberately broad term which, among others, covers reliability, security, safety and availability.

DIRC starts from the position that society's dependence on computer-based systems continues to increase and the systems themselves (embracing humans, computers and engineered systems) become ever more complex. Our interest is therefore in developing improved means of specifying, designing, assessing, deploying and maintaining complex computer-based systems in contexts where high dependability is crucial.

Within DIRC, the "open source approach" has been reviewed for its potential to contribute to aspects of dependability.  One key observation is that there are many, quite different, characteristics of projects which are described as "Open Source". The open source approach is sometimes characterised as 'massively diverse human scrutiny': this both extends the idea of reviews or inspections and introduces a way of confirming final decisions about the inclusion of changes to a system. It poses interesting psychological and sociological questions.

Examples of open source (e.g. operating systems, development tools, web and mail servers) projects indicate that a community can be built which can create software that is (claimed to be) highly reliable. It is not entirely clear what determines whether such a community can be built. Addressing such questions requires interdisciplinary research involving people from sociology and computer science backgrounds. Issues such as the above are the main interests of this workshop. We particularly welcome the participation of those who are currently working in open source software development or those with experiences of using open source software.


The workshop was sponsored by DIRC, the Centre for Software Reliability, at the University of Newcastle, and the University of Newcastle.


The final programme and abstracts of a couple of the presentations are available.

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