Application of Survival Model to Understand Open Source Software Release

Ravi Sen, Matthew L. Nelson, Chandrasekar Subramaniam


One of the recurrent themes in open source software research is to understand the impacts of various project characteristics on its success. Open source software (OSS) projects rely on voluntary participation of developers and tend to be continually in development. Hence, an important measure of success is the time it takes for an OSS project to release a stable version to its users. However, there is little research on this success measure and how the OSS characteristics enable or delay the progress towards stable release. In this study, we use survival analysis technique on open source project data to explore the impacts of OSS characteristics on the time it takes to release stable software versions. We find that when compared to the interest of developers in the project, interest of end-users has a greater positive effect on an OSS project progress towards stable release. Our findings also suggest that the use of C and C-like programming languages or a Weak-Copyleft license for the open source project negatively impact the project’s time to reach stable status. In OSS projects less than 8 months since becoming public, the use of a Strong-Copyleft license positively affects the project’s progress. One of the implications of our findings is that OSS project administrators should control software change requests or form smaller developer groups to better control the delays due to higher developer interest in their projects.


Open source project; OSS; FLOSS; OSS popularity; OSS success; survival; hazard; ordinal regression

Full Text:

Views 21