Free/Libre Open-Source Software development: What we know and what we do not know

Kevin Crowston, Kangning Wei, James Howison, Andrea Wiggins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

347 Scopus citations


We review the empirical research on Free/Libre and Open-Source Software (FLOSS) development and assess the state of the literature.We develop a framework for organizing the literature based on the input-mediatoroutput- input (IMOI) model from the small groups literature. We present a quantitative summary of articles selected for the review and then discuss findings of this literature categorized into issues pertaining to inputs (e.g., member characteristics, technology use, and project characteristics), processes (software development practices, social processes, and firm involvement practices), emergent states (e.g., social states and taskrelated states), and outputs (e.g. team performance, FLOSS implementation, and project evolution). Based on this review, we suggest topics for future research, as well as identify methodological and theoretical issues for future inquiry in this area, including issues relating to sampling and the need for more longitudinal studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalACM Computing Surveys
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Development
  • Distributed work
  • Free/Libre open-source software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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