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This paper presents findings from an empirical study directed at understanding the roles, forms, and consequences arising in requirements for Open Source Software (OSS) development efforts. Five open source software development communities are described, examined, and compared to help discover what differences may be observed. At least two dozen kinds of software informalisms are found to play a critical role in the elicitation, analysis, specification, validation, and management of requirements for developing OSS systems. Subsequently, understanding the roles these software informalisms take in a new formulation of the requirements development process for OSS is the focus of this paper.
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