An Empirically Based Theory for Open Software Engineering Tools

Hussan Munir

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

572 Downloads (Pure)


Many companies and developers from OSS communities create open tools collaboratively in which software developers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community. Open tools (e.g., Jenkins, Gerrit, and Git) offer features or performance benefits that surpass their commercial counterparts in the core product development. Participation in OSS tools communities greatly dismantled the closed innovation model and lured organizations towards Open Innovation (OI). Harnessing the external knowledge that OI offers, requires better understanding regarding what to develop internally and what to acquire from outside the organization, how to cooperate with potential competitors, and when to conceal or reveal code while working with OSS communities. The aim of this thesis is to investigate how software-intensive organizations utilize the external and internal knowledge from OSS tools communities using Open Innovation to improve their core product development. First, this aim was achieved by exploring and reporting the existing evidence of OI in software engineering. Second, by providing a solution for software-intensive organizations regarding how to choose the right level of openness while working with OSS tools communities. Finally, we validated the proposed solution in multiple organizations. The thesis followed an empirical approach by conducting a systematic mapping study, case study, design science based contribution acceptance model, theory creation and validation of the theory. First, we conducted a systematic mapping study to synthesize the existing evidence on OI in software engineering and identified the research gaps. Second, we conducted an exploratory case study at Sony Mobile to explore how a software organization uses OSS tools communities to facilitate its core product development. Third, we proposed a theory of openness for organizations which provides guidelines regarding how to work with OSS tools communities. Fourth, we presented a contribution acceptance model and metamodel to assist strategic product planning in what to develop internally and what to share as OSS in the proprietary products.. Finally, we validated the proposed theory of openness for tools in two automotive companies by conducting focus
Original languageEnglish
  • Runeson, Per, Supervisor
  • Wnuk, Krzysztof, Supervisor
Award date2018 Sept 14
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-7753-738-0
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-7753-739-7
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 10

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2018-09-14
Time: 09:15
Place: lecture hall E:1406, building E, Ole Römers väg 7, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Lassenius, Casper
Title: Associate Professor
Affiliation: Aalto University, Finland

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Engineering and Technology


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