A group of US academics has launched a three-year research project to investigate how open source software is built by developers.
The researchers from the University of California Davis campus have secured a $750,000 (£395,000) grant from the US National Science Foundation to support the project.
The team will focus on the Apache Web server, the PostgreSQL database and the Python scripting language. They intend to collect information from message boards, bug reports and e-mail discussion groups to build up a picture of how design teams organise themselves and interact with each other.
The researchers believe that the way design teams are organised will be reflected in the software they create, while the nature of the software may also influence how teams of programmers get together.
UC Davis computer science professor Premkumar Devanbu said open source software defied conventional wisdom about collaborative projects, with work moving at the speed of the fastest member of the development team rather than being held back by the pace of the slowest.
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