Annals of Business Administrative Science
Online ISSN : 1347-4456
Print ISSN : 1347-4464
The role of mailing lists for policy discussions in open source development
Masayuki Hatta
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2018 Volume 17 Issue 1 Pages 31-43


This document analyzes the evolution of policy-related discussions in open source software by using several projects’ policy mailing list archives and focusing on the Debian Project. More specifically, it utilizes approximately 70,000 pieces of mail exchanged since the end of the 1990s, investigating the rise and fall in activity and what sort of topics was discussed. The results of this paper’s inquiry suggest that mail volumes peaked in 2005, that policy discussions were led and mainly contributed to by a relatively small subset of persons who only posted related to policy, and that overall mailing list traffic (not only related to policy) declined after 2006, possibly due to a transfer of discussion to Wikis, chats, and other such platforms.

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