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 identifies and corrects more software defects and adds more features via a peer-review process. This type of community has been termed "bazaar", and its creation and continuity have been recognized as crucial factors for the success of free software projects.
In this paper two free software projects are empirically explored in order to characterize their software lifecycle, development processes and communities. It is argued that both the "cathedral" and "bazaar" phases can be found in free software projects, and that the transition between the two phases is the key factor of the truly popular ones.
The first conclusion of this paper is that the bazaar phase is characterized by a growing trend of new developers joining the project: consequently, a similar growing pattern will be observed in the output produced. The second conclusion is that new developers tend to work on the most recent modules first: consequently, projects failing to develop new modules will not attract new developers.
Capiluppi, A., Michlmayr, M. (2007). From the Cathedral to the Bazaar: An Empirical Study of the Lifecycle of Volunteer Community Projects. In: Feller, J., Fitzgerald, B., Scacchi, W., Silitti, A. (Eds.), Open Source Development, Adoption and Innovation. 31–44.
Capiluppi, A., Michlmayr, M. (2007). From Cathedral to the Bazaar: An Empirical Study of the Lifecycle of Volunteer Community Projects. The European Journal for the Informatics Professional, 8(6). 8–17.