Revisiting Linus's law: Benefits and challenges of open source software peer review

Jing Wang, Patrick C. Shih, John M. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Open source projects leverage a large number of people to review products and improve code quality. Differences among participants are inevitable and important to this collaborative review process - participants with different expertise, experience, resources, and values approach the problems differently, increasing the likelihood of finding more bugs and fixing the particularly difficult ones. To understand the impacts of member differences on the open source software peer review process, we examined bug reports of Mozilla Firefox. These analyses show that the various types of member differences increase workload as well as frustration and conflicts. However, they facilitate situated learning, problem characterization, design review, and boundary spanning. We discuss implications for work performance and community engagement, and suggest several ways to leverage member differences in the open source software peer review process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-65
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
StatePublished - May 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education
  • General Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


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