Topic "Tools"

To construct software one in general needs a set of tools (at least an editor, a compiler). With this topic we want to have an explicit look at the development tools used to construct Free and Open Source software. We are interested in getting to know about a tool's history and acceptance within the developer community. Furthermore we take a glance at newer tools complementing or replacing older ones. We will have a look at the characteristics and innovative features of these newer tools that may soon be the de-facto standard within the community.

Key Questions

  • Which tools are used Open Source development projects and how can their existance be explained?
  • Which tools are essentially Open Source only?

Discarded Questions

  • Which differences can we find when we look at tool use in open and closed source development? Where do these differences come from? Can we find a causal link?


  • Davor Cubranic, Reid Holmes, Annie T.T. Ying, and Gail C. Murphy, 2003. Tools for Light-weight Knowledge Sharing in Open-source Software Development. 3rd Workshop on Open Source Software. (PDF)
  • Jason E. Robbins, 2002. Adopting OSS Methods by Adopting OSS Tools. 2nd Workshop on Open Source Software Engineering. (PDF)

Literature: Tools

  • Howard Pennington, Working on Free Software HTML
  • Christian Robottom Reis, 2002, Renata Pontin de Mattos Fortes, An Overview of the Software Engineering Process and Tools in the Mozilla Project PDF
  • Yuwei Lin, 2004, Hacking Practices and Software Development: A Social Worlds Analysis of ICT Innovation and the Role of Free/Libre Open Source Software PDF
  • Margaret S. Elliot, 2004, Walt Scacci, Mobilization of Software Developers: The Free Software Movement PDF
  • A.J.Rossini, Martin Mächler, Kurt Hornik, Richard M. Heiberger, Rodney Sparapani, 2001, Emacs Speaks Statistics: A Universal Interface for Statistical Analysis, PDF
  • Norman Matloff, 1997, Emacs: The Software Engineer's “Swiss Army Knife”, HTML

Literature: CVS Archeology

  • Jesús M. González-Barahona, Luis López, Gregorio Robles, 2004, Community structure of modules in the Apache project PDF
  • Gregorio Robles, Stefan Koch, Jesús M. González-Barahona, 2004?, Remote analysis and measurement of libre software systems by means of the CVSAnalY toolPDF
  • Stefan Koch, Georg Schneider, 2000, Results from Software Engineering Research into Open Source Development Projects Using Public Data PDF

Studied Tools

  • Version Control: CVS, Subversion
  • IDE: Eclipse, emacs
  • Build- & Buildmanagement: Make, Ant, GNU Autotools, SCons
  • Documentation: Doxygen, GNU Texinfo
  • (Bugtracking: Bugzilla, Scarab)
  • (Hosting: Sourceforge, Savane)

Presentation of a tool

  • Filing in the development process and tool's history
  • Functionality
  • Usage/Impact on FOSS development
  • Accolade/Criticism