Prof. Marlon Dumas (Institute of Computer Science UT)
Prof. Dietmar Pfahl (Institute of Computer Science UT).
Prof. Tom Mens (University of Mons, Belgium)
Assoc. Prof. Andy Zaidman (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands).
Modern software development relies on open-source software to facilitate reuse and reduce redundant work. Software developers use open-source packages in their projects without having insights into how these components are being developed and maintained. The aim of this thesis is to develop approaches for analyzing issue and dependency management in software projects. Software projects organize their work with issue trackers, tools for tracking issues such as development tasks, bug reports, and feature requests. By analyzing issue handling in more than 4,000 open-source projects, we found that many issues are left open for long periods of time, which can result in bugs and vulnerabilities not being fixed in a timely manner. This thesis proposes a method for predicting the amount of time it takes to resolve an issue by using the historical data available in issue trackers. Methods for predicting issue lifetime can help software project managers to prioritize issues and allocate resources accordingly. Another problem studied in this thesis is how software dependencies are used. Software developers often include third-party open-source software packages in their project code as a dependency. The included dependencies can also have their own dependencies. A complex network of dependency relationships exists among open-source software packages. This thesis analyzes the structure and the evolution of dependency networks of three popular programming languages. We propose an approach to measure the growth and the evolution of dependency networks. This thesis demonstrates that dependency network analysis can quantify what is the likelihood of acquiring vulnerabilities through software packages and how it changes over time. The approaches and findings developed here could help to bring transparency into open-source projects with respect to how issues are handled, or dependencies are updated.