ApacheCon NA 2010 Session

Hierarchy in Meritocracy: Community building and code production in the ASF

The ASF explains the success of its communities by meritocracy. This model seems to have brought developers together into communities in a way that significantly influences code production. Furthermore, 'community-over-code' apparently distinguishes the Apache communities from other open source projects like those found in Sourceforge or Google code. The behavior behind institutions like meritocracy can better understood by analysis through an organizational model of open source. Such a model was developed by Van Wendel de Joode (2005): “The model is intended to serve as input to discussion and reflection and as a guide for further research on the subject.” There are eight design principles in the organizational model of open source and for this project the principles of collective choice arrangements, conflict resolution mechanisms and multiple layers of nested enterprise were chosen for their relevance on decision-making. In this session we will explore the role of institutional instruments and self-organizational mechanisms in code production. We will discuss how to model and measure these phenomena, and their influence in code production, in social networks of file co-authorship (an idea inspired by Apache Agora).