On Developers' Personality in Large-scale Distributed Projects: The Case of the Apache Ecosystem

Fabio Calefato, Giuseppe Iaffaldano, Filippo Lanubile, Bogdan Vasilescu

Large-scale distributed projects are typically the results of collective efforts performed by multiple developers, each one having a different personality. The study of developers' personalities has the potential of explaining their' behavior in various contexts. For example, the propensity to trust others, a critical factor to the success of global software engineering - has been found to influence positively the result of code reviews in distributed projects. In this paper, we perform a quantitative analysis of developers' personality in open source software projects, intended as an extreme form of distributed projects in which no single organization controls the project. We mine ecosystem-level data from the code commits and email messages contributed by the developers working on the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects, as representative of large scale-distributed projects. We find that developers become over time more conscientious, agreeable, and neurotic. Moreover, personality traits do not vary with their role, membership, and extent of contribution to the projects. We also find evidence that more open and more agreeable developers are more likely to become project contributors.

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