Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Technical Report, TR-UNL-CSE-2012-0006


Copyright 2012 ACM


Open source software development has evolved beyond single projects into complex networked ecosystems of projects that share portions of their code, social norms, and developer communities. This networked nature allows developers moving into a new project to easily leverage knowledge about process and social norms along with reputation gained in related projects. In this paper we examine a subset of the communities found in GitHub, a large software development community that focuses on “social coding”. We identify a variety of roles in the ecosystem that go beyond the previous user/developer dichotomy and find that these roles often persist across sub-communities in the GitHub ecosystem. This has dramatic implications for the way that we view open source and related software development processes and suggests that a more nuanced view of the roles and relationships in these communities would be beneficial.