Category Archives: 2 Research

A Short Overview of Our Research Areas and Projects

Inner source software engineering

Inner source software development is software development utilizing open source best practices and processes for firm-internal software development. Engineering artifacts are laid open to the whole organization, inviting use and potential contribution across organizational boundaries. Inner source breaks down development silos and complements traditional top-down development structuring with bottom-up self-organization. Firms benefit from better code reuse and improved knowledge sharing, among other things.

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Continuous deployment

Continuous deployment is the process of “continuously” putting engineering innovation into production. In software, done right, continuous deployment leads to innovation release cycles that are counted in minutes rather than months or years. We are researching the full tool chain, practices, and processes, ranging from code repository to live monitoring of the continuously deployed system. A current focus is on the “immune system”, the system monitoring component that recognizes a bad deployment and rolls it back.

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Requirements engineering (QDAcity-RE)

Requirements engineering today is lacking “pre-RS” traceability—the ability to trace back requirements to stakeholders who asked for them and how conflicting requirements were resolved and decisions were made as to how to prioritize requirements. The QDAcity-RE project is utilizing qualitative data analysis (QDA) methods for determining requirements from “soft” input like interviews, workshops, and prior documentation. QDAcity-RE speeds up the elucidation process of high-quality, pre-RS-traceable requirements.

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Corporate open source governance

Open source governance (and compliance) are the firm-internal processes that ensure that a firm can benefit from using high-quality open source components in their products. Risks posed by the ungoverned use of open source in products are loss of exclusive ownership of the source code and patents associated with the software as well as potentially high fines or lawsuit settlement costs when dragged into court. We are guiding firms to proper open source governance using a best-practice handbook (for good governance).

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Open source business models

According to the forthcoming Bitkom manifest on open source, a successful software industry not only uses open source, but strategically leads open source projects. While contributing patches to non-differentiation open source components may be a no-brainer, deciding on when to join an open source foundation or start an open source project requires more thought. We are developing tools, practices, and processes for situation assessment and decision making on strategic leadership in open source software development.

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Distributed knowledge collaboration (Sweble)

Git and related projects have given the world a new decentralized way of collaborating around source code. The Sweble project applies a similar collaboration model to knowledge content, e.g. wikis. Use cases are cross-department collaboration, vendor-customer collaboration, and cross-company collaboration. By replacing the centralized model of knowledge collaboration with a decentralized one, Sweble gives different groups and companies independence of work while allowing for fast and efficient integration when desired.

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NetzDatenStrom Project Has Started

The research project NetzDatenStrom has finally started. NetzDatenStrom is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in the context of the 6th energy research program. Experts on research and development, software producers of network control systems as well as grid operators and it-experts in the energy sector work together for integrating standard Big-Data solutions into existing network control systems. The project covers a three year period and will be done by a consortium comprised of network control system vendors PSI AG, KISTERS AG and BTC AG, grid operator EWE NETZ GmbH, OFFIS-Institute for Information Technology (consortium leader), Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Institute for Multimedia and Interactive Systems at University Lübeck. NetzDatenStrom will be supported by openKONSEQUENZ and provides possible contributions to the openKONSEQUENZ-platform.

The official Kick-Off meeting and workshop took place on October 27th at OFFIS in Oldenburg. First task is to specify practical and fundamental Big-Data use cases and establish a foundation for upcoming work steps. In context of NetzDatenStrom, the Open Source Research Group will exercise the integration of external data sources into existing network control systems and investigate the exploitation potential of open source software developed in a consortium.


Celebrating a New Journal Publication on Inner Source in our Kitchen

A photo of the research group, with guest Minghui Zhou of Peking University, celebrating the accept notice for a new tier-1 journal paper with cake in our kitchen.

Start of Inner Source Governance project with Continental

Today, the Inner Source Governance project started. It is funded by Continental.

For more information, please see inner source governance and processes (pool project).

Start of Open Source Governance and Compliance project

Today, the Open Source Governance and Compliance project started. It is funded by a large German company.

For more information, please open source governance and compliance (pool project).

Start of NetzDatenStrom project funded by BMWi

Today, the NetzDatenStrom project started. The project consortium comprises two more universities and many more industry parterns. It is funded by BMWi.

For more information, please see TBD.

Start of Software Hardening project led by FAU Security Research group funded by DATEV

Today, the Software Hardening project started. The project is led by FAU’s security research group and it is funded by DATEV.

For more information, please see TBD.

An Example Charter for Inner Source Programs

Abstract: Inner source software development is firm-internal software development that uses the principles of open source software development to collaborate across intra-organizational boundaries that would otherwise hinder any such collaboration. Inner source breaks down the barriers to collaboration across development silos by setting up an internal ecosystem of readily available software components. To get started with inner source, companies need to define their goals and then set up a governance structure for an inner source program and the projects within to reach those goals. This governance structure is often codified in the form of a charter document. This technical report presents an example charter for an inner source program. The goal is for companies to be able to copy and adjust this charter for their own needs. Towards this purpose, the charter leaves open the many decisions to be made, but outlines the options that any company needs to decide upon when establishing an inner source program.

Keywords: Inner source, inner source charter

Reference: Riehle, D. (2016). An Example Charter for Inner Source Programs. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Dept. of Computer Science, Technical Reports, CS-2016-05, August 2016.

The paper is available as a PDF file.

Technical Report: Using Students as a Distributed Coding Team for Validation through Intercoder Agreement

Abstract: In qualitative research, results often emerge through an analysis process called coding. A common measure of validity of theories built through qualitative research is the agreement between different people coding the same materials. High intercoder agreement indicates that the findings are derived from the data as opposed to being relative results based on the original researcher’s bias. However, measuring such intercoder agreement incurs the high cost of having additional researchers perform seemingly redundant work. In this paper we present first results on a novel method of using students for validating theories. We find that intercoder agreement between a large number of students is almost as good as the intercoder agreement between two professionals working on the same materials.

Keywords: Qualitative Data Analysis, Theory Triangulation, Intercoder Agreement, Distributed Coding, Collective Coding

Reference:  Andreas Kaufmann, Ann Barcomb and Dirk Riehle, “Using Students as a  Distributed Coding Team for Validation through Intercoder Agreement,” Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Dept. of Computer Science, Technical Reports, CS-2016-01, April 2016.

The report is available as a PDF file.

Start of Inner Source Governance project with Siemens Digital Factory

Today, the Inner Source Governance project started. It is funded by Siemens Digital Factory.

For more information, please see inner source governance and processes (pool project).