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From Carl Gutwin <>
Subject Distributed Development Research
Date Fri, 05 Mar 2004 07:37:04 GMT
(Sorry for the off-topic post - it was suggested to me that I post here 
and see if there was any interest...)

Hi - I'm a CS researcher who does research in groupware and distributed 
systems. I'm writing because I would like to interview some httpd 
developers to find out how people in distributed open-source projects 
manage to stay aware of others on the project. By 'awareness' I mean 
things like who is on the project, who is the person to talk to for 
particular issues, who to inform when you want to make a particular 
change, and so forth.

I've found some surprising things so far talking with some people from 
the NetBSD project - I'd like to see how things are done here on httpd. 
There's a longer description of my project below - if you would be 
willing to talk about your experiences with me, please send email to (or reply to this message, or whatever).


  ======== Group awareness in distributed development projects ==========

  It is not obvious how open-source projects manage to coordinate the
  efforts of numerous developers, all with write access to the code.
  Although projects are usually partitioned to reduce the people
  working in any one area, there are still many cases where one person's
  actions are dependent on, or will affect, another person's work. I am
  trying to find out how developers stay aware of who's doing what - e.g.:

       - who is in charge of (or is currently working on) piece X?
       - who should I inform before making a change?
       - is anyone already working on change Z?
       - is person Y nearly finished their work on change Z?
       - how do new developers 'learn the ropes' of who does what on the
       - are there situations where work is duplicated or people work at
  cross purposes (i.e. where there was inadequate awareness)?

  I would like to collect information from you about these issues, about
  other awareness problems, or about how things work on this project. If
  you would be willing to discuss it further, please contact me at

Carl Gutwin, Associate Professor,   Department of Computer Science
University of Saskatchewan, 57 Campus Drive, Saskatoon SK  S7N 5A9
Tel: (306) 966-8646   Fax: (306) 966-4884        WWW:

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