Quality Practices and Problems in Free Software Projects

  • Martin Michlmayr, University of Cambridge
  • Francis Hunt, University of Cambridge
  • David Probert, University of Cambridge


Free software and open source projects are often perceived to be of high quality. It has been suggested that the high level of quality found in some free software projects is related to the open development model which promotes peer review. While the quality of some free software projects is comparable to if not better than that of closed source software, not all free software projects are successful and of high quality. Even mature and successful projects face quality problems, some of which are related to the unique characteristics of free software and open source as a distributed development model based primarily on volunteers. In exploratory interviews performed with free software and open source developers, common quality practices as well as actual quality problems have been identified. The results of these interviews are presented in this paper to take stock of the current status of quality in free software projects and to act as a starting point for the implementation of quality process improvement strategies.



Michlmayr, M., Hunt, F., Probert, D. R. (2005). Quality Practices and Problems in Free Software Projects. In: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Open Source Systems. 24–28.