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A Systematic Review of Studies of Open Source Software Evolution



Hongyu Pei-Breivold, Muhammad Aufeef Chauhan , Muhammad Ali Babar

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


17th Asia Pacific Software Engineering Conference (APSEC), IEEE


Software evolution relates to how software systems evolve over time. With the emergence of the open source paradigm, researchers are provided with a wealth of data for open source software evolution analysis. In this paper, we present a systematic review of open source software (OSS) evolution. The objective of this review is to obtain an overview of the existing studies in open source software evolution, with the intention of achieving an understanding of how software evolvability (i.e., a software system’s ability to easily accommodate changes) is addressed during development and evolution of open source software. The primary studies for this review were identified based on a pre-defined search strategy and a multi-step selection process. Based on their research topics, we have identified four main categories of themes: software trends and patterns, evolution process support, evolvability characteristics addressed in OSS evolution, and examining OSS at software architecture level. A comprehensive overview and synthesis of these categories and related studies is presented as well.


author = {Hongyu Pei-Breivold and Muhammad Aufeef Chauhan and Muhammad Ali Babar},
title = {A Systematic Review of Studies of Open Source Software Evolution},
month = {November},
year = {2010},
booktitle = {17th Asia Pacific Software Engineering Conference (APSEC), IEEE},
url = {}