Quality Improvement in Free Software: Release Management

As I'm nearing the completion of my PhD, I'm starting to write about the findings from my research. The aim of my PhD is to investigate quality improvement in free software projects. After some exploratory studies about quality in free software, I decided to focus on release management as one problematic area in which improvement is possible. My approach is to study the development process of projects and to investigate ways how these processes can be improved. The hope is that such improvements will lead to increased levels of quality in the software produced by free software projects.

With regard to release management, I'm focusing especially on large and complex projects, in which hundreds of volunteers need to be coordinated during release preparations. I've been looking particularly at time based release management since my exploratory studies have shown that there is significant interest in this release management strategy. The main question of my research is how and why time based release management works for large free software projects.

In my first series of postings, I will introduce the seven free software projects I have studied in depth during my research. For each project, I will briefly summarize what problems the project faced in the past, what changes they have implemented to address these problems, and what outstanding problems they still have.

Projects: Debian | GCC | GNOME | Linux kernel | OpenOffice.org | Plone | X.org