PPIG 2009 - 21st Annual Workshop
Further Observation of Open Source Programmers’ Information Seeking
Khaironi Yatim Sharif, Jim Buckley
Abstract: Several authors have proposed information seeking as an appropriate perspective for studying software maintenance and evolution, and have characterized information seeking empirically in commercial software evolution settings. However, there is little research in the literature describing the information seeking behaviour of Open Source programmers, even though Open Source contexts would seem to exacerbate information seeking problems. That is, team members are typically delocalized from each other and they are often forced into asynchronous communication.
This work reports on an empirical study that classifies Open-Source programmers’ information needs, as generated through open-coding of the questions that appear on their developer mailing lists. The study details the information sought by Open Source programmers on 3 different mailing lists over several years and characterizes the responses they obtained. In doing so, several interesting observations are made about the information these programmers seek, the likelihood that they will receive responses and the number of responses they are likely to get.