From the Cathedral to the Bazaar: An Empirical Study of the Lifecycle of Volunteer Community Projects

  • Andrea Capiluppi
  • Martin Michlmayr
Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 234)


Some free software and open source projects have been extremely successful in the past. The success of a project is often related to the number of developers it can attract: a larger community of developers (the ‘bazaar’) identifies and corrects more software defects and adds more features via a peer-review process. In this paper two free software projects (Wine and Arla) are empirically explored in order to characterize their software lifecycle, development processes and communities. Both the projects show a phase where the number of active developers and the actual work performed on the system is constant, or does not grow: we argued that this phase corresponds to the one termed ‘cathedral’ in the literature. One of the two projects (Wine) shows also a second phase: a sudden growing amount of developers corresponds to a similar growing output produced: we termed this as the ‘bazaar’ phase, and we also argued that this phase was not achieved for the other system. A further analysis revealed that the transition between ‘cathedral’ and ‘bazaar’ was a phase by itself in Wine, achieved by creating a growing amount of new modules, which attracted new developers.


Open Source Software Software Project Open Source Project Software Maintenance Active Developer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Capiluppi
    • 1
  • Martin Michlmayr
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LincolnUK
  2. 2.University of CambridgeUK

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