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Perspectives on Open Source Software

November 2001 Technical Report
Scott Hissam, Charles B. Weinstock, Daniel Plakosh, Jai Asundi

This 2001 report summarizes the results of a study of the benefits of pitfalls of using open source software.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


DOI (Digital Object Identifier):


Open source software (OSS) is emerging as the software community's next "silver bullet" and appears to be playing a significant role in the acquisition and development plans of the Department of Defense (DoD) and industry. Yet, as with all previous silver bullets, there are problems with blindly embracing the OSS paradigm.

To become familiar with the benefits and pitfalls of using OSS, the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) undertook an internally funded study looking at it from various perspectives: 1) the user of OSS, 2) the developer of OSS, 3) the organizations looking to deploy software systems comprised (partially or completely) of OSS components  

During the period of this study, members of the SEI technical staff hosted meetings, conducted interviews, participated in open source development activities, workshops, and conferences, and studied available literature on the subject. Through these activities, the authors have been able to support and sometimes refute common perceptions about OSS. This report is the result of their study.