Posts Tagged FLOSS

On licenses, communities, business models

The debate on whether the GPL is going the way of the dodo or not is still raging, in a way similar to the one on open core – not surprisingly, since they are both related to similar aspects, that intermingle technical and emotional aspects. A recent post from BlackDuck indicates that (on some metric, not very well specified unfortunately) the GPLv2 for the first time dropped below 50%; while Amy Stephen points out that the GPLv2 is used in 55% of the new projects (with the LGPL at 10%), something that is comparable to the results that we found in FLOSSMETRICS for the stable projects. Why such a storm? The reason is partly related to a strong association of the GPL with a specific political and ethical stance (an association that is, in my view, negative in the long term), and partly because the GPL is considered to be antithetic to so-called “open core” models, where less invasive licenses (like the Apache or Eclipse licenses) are considered to be more appropriate.

First of all, the “open core” debate is mostly moot: the “new” open core is quite different from the initial, “free demo” approach (as magistrally exemplified by Eric Barroca of Nuxeo). While in the past the open core model was basically to present a half-solution barely usable for testing now open core means a combination of services and (little) added code, like the new approach taken by Alfresco – that in the past I would have probably classified in the ITSM class (installation/training/support/maintenance, in recent report rechristened as “product specialist). Read as an example the post from John Newton, describing Alfresco approach:

  • We must insure that customers using our enterprise version are not locked into that choice and that open source is available to them. To that end, the core system and interfaces will remain 100% open source.
  • We will provide service and customer support that provides insurance that systems will run as expected and correct problems according our promised Service Level Agreement
  • Enterprise customers will receive fixes as a priority, but that we will make these fixes available in the next labs release. Bugs fixed by the community are delivered to the community as a priority.
  • We will provide extensions and integrations to proprietary systems to which customers are charged. It is fair for us to charge and include this in an enterprise release as well.
  • Extensions and integrations to ubiquitous proprietary systems, such as Windows and Office, will be completely open source.
  • Extensions that are useful to monitor or run a system in a scaled or production environment, such as system monitoring, administration and high availability, are fair to put into an enterprise release.”

The new “open core” is really a mix of services, including enhanced documentation and training materials, SLA-backed support, stability testing and much more. In this new model, the GPL is not a barrier in any way, and can be used to implement such a model without additional difficulties. The move towards services also explains why despite the claim that open core models are the preferred monetization strategies, our work in FLOSSMETRICS found that only 19% of the companies surveyed used such a model, a number that is consistent with the 23.7% found by the 451 group, despite the claim that “Open Core becomes the default business model”. The reality is that the first implementation of open core was seriously flawed; for several reasons:

“The model has the intrinsic downside that the FLOSS product must be valuable to be attractive for the users, but must also be not complete enough to prevent competition with the commercial one. This balance is difficult to achieve and maintain over time; also, if the software is of large interest, developers may try to complete the missing functionality in a purely open source way, thus reducing the attractiveness of the commercial version.”

and, from Matthew Aslett:

I previously noted that with the Open-Core approach the open source disruptor is disrupted by its own disruption and that in the context of Christensen’s law of Conservation of Attractive Profits it is probably easier in the long-term to generate profit from adjacent proprietary products than it is to generate profit from proprietary features deployed on top of the commoditized product.

In the process of selecting a business model, then, the GPL is not a barrier in adopting this new style of open core model, and certainly creates a barrier for potential freeriding by competitors, something that was for example recognized by SpringSource (that adopted for most of their products the Apache license):

The GPL is well understood by the market and the legal community and has notable precedents such as MySQL, Java and the Linux kernel as GPL licensed projects. The GPL ensures that the software remains open and that companies do not take our products and sell against us in the marketplace. If this happened, we would not be able to sufficiently invest in the project and everyone would suffer.

The GPL family, at the moment, has the advantage that the majority of packages are licensed under one of such licenses, making compatibility checking easier; also, there is an higher probability of finding a GPL (v2, v3, AGPL, LGPL) package to improve than starting for scratch – and this should also guarantee that in the future the license mix will probably continue to be oriented towards copyleft-style restrictions. Of course, there will be a movement towards the GPLv3 (reducing the GPLv2 share, especially for new projects) but as a collective group the percentages will remain more or less similar.

This is not to say that the GPL is perfect: on the contrary, the text (even in the v3 edition) lacks clarity on derivative works, has been bent too much to accommodate anti-tivoization clauses (that contributed to a general lack of readability of the text) and lacks a worldwide vision (something that the EUPL has added). In terms of community and widespread adoption the GPL can be less effective as a tool for creating widespread platform usage; the EPL or the Apache license may be more appropriate for this role, and this because the FSF simply has not created a license that fullfills the same role (this time, for political reasons).

What I hope is that more companies start the adoption process, under the license that allows them to be commercially sustainable and thriving. The wrong choice way hamper growth and adoption, or may limit the choice of the most appropriate business model. The increase in adoption will also trigger what Matthew Aslett mentioned as the fifth stage of evolution (still partially undecided). I am a strong believer that there will be a move toward consortia-managed projects, something similar to what Matthew calls “the embedded age”; the availability of neutral third-party networks increase the probability and quality of contributions, in a way similar to the highly successful Eclipse foundation.

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“Libre Software for Enterprises”: new issue of the European Journal for the Informatics Professional

It is available online the new issue of UPGRADE, the European Journal for the Informatics Professional, edited by Jesús-M. González-Barahona, Teófilo Romera-Otero, and Björn Lundell. The monograph is dedicated to libre software, and I am grateful to the editors for including my paper on best practices for OSS adoption. This is not the first UPGRADE edition devoted to libre and free software – the  june 2005 edition was about libre software as a research field, june 2006 centered on OSS licenses, december 2006 was devoted to the ODF format, and the december 2007 edition was centered on free software research, all extremely interesting and relevant.

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DoD OSCMIS: a great beginning of a new OSS project

OSCMIS is a very large web-based application (more than half a GB of code), created by the Defense Information Systems Agency of the US Department of Defense, and currently in use and supporting 16000 users (including some in critical areas of the world, like a tactical site in Iraq). It is written in ColdFusion8, but should be executable with minimal effort using a CFML open source engine like Ralio; it is currently using MSSQL, but there is already a standard SQL version alternative. The application implements, among others, the following functions:

  • Balanced Scorecard—extensive balanced scorecard application implementing DISA quad view (strategy, initiatives, issues, and goals/accomplished graph) practice. Designed and built in house after commercial vendors didn’t feel it was possible to create.
  • DISA Learning Management System. Enables fast, easy course identification and registration, with registration validation or wait listing as appropriate, and automated supervisory notifications for approvals. Educational Development Specialists have control as appropriate of course curricula, venues, funds allocation data, reporting, and more. Automated individual and group SF182’s are offered. Includes many other training tools for intern management and training, competitive training selection and management, mandatory training, mentoring at all levels, etc.
  • Personnel Locator System—completely integrated into HR, Training, Security, and other applications as appropriate. System is accessible by the entire DISA public. PLS feeds the Global Address List.
  • COR/TM Qualification Management—Acquisition personnel training and accreditation status and display. Tracks all DISA acquisition personnel and provides auto notification to personnel and management of upcoming training requirements to maintain accreditation and more. Designed and built in house after the Acquisition community and its vendors didn’t feel it possible to create.
  • Action Tracking System—automates the SF50 and process throughout a civilian personnel operation.
  • Security Suite—a comprehensive suite of Personnel and Physical Security tools, to include contractor management.
  • Force Development Program—individual and group professional development tools for military members, to include required training and tracking of training status and more.
  • Network User Agreement—automated system to gather legal documentation (CAC signed PDF’s) of network users’ agreements not to harm the government network they are using. Used by DISA worldwide.
  • Telework—comprehensive telework management tool to enable users to propose times to telework, with an automated notification system (both up and down) of approval status.
  • JTD/JTMD management—provides requirements to manage billets, personnel, vacancies, and realignments, plus more, comprehensively or down to single organizations.
  • Employee On-Boarding Tool—automates and provides automated notification in sequence of actions needed to ensure that inbound personnel are processed, provided with tools and accounts, and made operational in minimal time.
  • DISA Performance Appraisal System—automates the process of collecting performance appraisal data. Supervisors log in and enter data for their employees.  This data is output to reports which are used to track metrics and missing data. The final export of the data goes to DFAS.
  • ER/LR Tracking System—provides comprehensive tracking and status of employee relations/labor relations actions to include disciplinary actions and participants of the advance sick leave and leave transfer programs.
  • Protocol Office–comprehensive event planning and management application to all track actions and materials in detail as needed to support operations for significant events, VIP visits, etc.

This is a small snippet of the full list – at the moment covering more than 50 applications; some are specific to the military world, while some are typical of large scale organizations of all kind (personnel management, for example). The open source release of OSCMIS is important for several different reasons:

  • It gives the opportunity to reuse an incredible amount of work, already used and tested in production in one of the largest defence groups.
  • It creates an opportunity to enlarge, improve and create an additional economy around it, in a way similar to the release of the DoD Vista health care management system (another incredibly large contribution, that spawned several commercial successes).
  • It is an example of well studied, carefully planned release process; while Vista was released through an indirect process (a FOIA request that leaved the sources in the public domain and later re-licensed by independent groups) OSCMIS was released with a good process from the start, including a rationale for license selection from Lawrence Rosen, that acted as counsel to OSSI and DISA.

It cannot be underestimated the role of both people inside of DISA (like Richard Nelson, chief of the Personnel Systems Support Branch), John Weathersby of OSSI, and I am sure many others, in preparing such a large effort. This is also a good demonstration of good cooperation between a competence center like OSSI and a government agency, and I hope an example for similar efforts around the world. (By the way, other efforts from OSSI are worthy of attention, including the FIPS validation of OpenSSL…)

For more information: a good overview from Military IT journal, Government computer news, a license primer from Rosen (pdf), and the press package (pdf). The public presentation will be hosted by OSSI the first of september in Washington.

I am indebted to Richard Nelson for the kindness and support in answering my mails, and for providing additional documentation.

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Some observations on licenses and forge evolution

One of the activities we are working on to distract ourselves from the lure of beaches and mountain walks is the creation of a preliminary model of actor/actions for the OSS environment, trying to estimate the effect of code and non-code contributions and the impact of OSS on firms (adopters, producers, leaders – following the model already outlined by Carbone), and the impact of competition-resistance measures introduced by firms (pricing and licensing changes are among the possibility). We started with some assumptions on our own, of course; first of all, rationality of actors, the fact that OSS and traditional firms do have similar financial and structural properties (something that we informally observed in our study for FLOSSMETRICS, and commented over here), and the fact that technology adoption of OSS is similar to other IT technologies.

Given this set of assumptions, we obtained some initial results on licensing choices, and I would like to share them with you. License evolution is complex, and synthesis reports (like the one that is presented daily by Black Duck) can only show a limited view of the dynamics of license adoption. In Black Duck’s database there is no account for “live” or “active” projects, and actually I would suggest them to add a separate report for only the active and stable ones (3% to 7% of the total, and actually those that are used in the enterprise anyway). Our model predicts that in the large scale, license compatibility and business model considerations are the main drivers for a specific license choice; in this sense, our view is that for new projects the license choice is more or less not changed significantly in the last year, and that can be confirmed by looking at the new projects appearing in sourceforge, that maintain an overall 70% preference for copyleft licensing models (higher in some specialized forges, that reach 75%, and of course lower in communities like Codeplex). Our prediction is that license adoption follows a diffusion process that is similar to the one already discussed here:


for web server adoption (parameters are also quite similar, as the time frame) and so we should expect a relative stabilization, and further reduction of “fringe” licenses. In this sense, I agree with Matthew Aslett (and the 451 CAOS 12 analysis) on the fact that despite the claims, there is actually a self-paced consolidation  An important aspect for people working on this kind of statistical analysis is the relative change in importance of forges, and the movement toward self-management of source code for commercial OSS companies. A good example comes from the FlossMOLE project:
It is relatively easy to see the reduction in the number of new projects in forges, that is only partially offset by new repositories not included in the analysis like Googlecode or Codeplex; this reduction can be explained by the fact that with an increasing number of projects, it is easier to find an existing project to contribute to, instead of creating one anew. An additional explanation is the fact that commercial OSS companies are moving from the traditional hosting on Sourceforge to the creation of internally managed and public repositories, where the development process is more controlled and manageable; my expectation is for this trend to continue, especially for “platform-like” products (an example is SugarForge).

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The different reasons for company code contributions

It was recently posted by Matt Asay an intriguing article called “Apache and the future of open-source licensing“, that starts with the phrase “If most developers contribute to open-source projects because they want to, rather than because they’re forced to, why do we have the GNU General Public License?

It turns out that Joachim Henkel (one of the leading European researchers in the field of open source) already published several papers on commercial contributions to open source projects, especially in the field of embedded open source. Among them, one of my favourite is “Patterns of Free Revealing – Balancing Code Sharing and Protection in Commercial Open Source Development“, that is available also at the Cospa knowledge base (a digital collection of more than 2000 papers on open source, that we created and populated in the context of the COSPA project). In the paper there is a nice summary analysis of reasons for contributing back, and one of the results is:


What does it means? That licensing issues are the main reason for publishing back, but separated by very few percentage points other reasons appear: the signaling advantage (being good players), the R&D sharing, and many others. In this sense, my view is that the GPL creates an initial context (by forcing the publication of source code) that creates a secondary effect – reuse and quality improvement – that appears after some time. In fact, our research shows that companies need quite some time to grasp the advantages of reuse and participation; the GPL enforces participation for enough time that companies discovers the added benefits, and start moving their motivations to economic reasons, as compared to legal enforcing or legal risks.

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The new form of Open Core, or how everyone was right

Right on the heels of the 451 group’s CAOS 12 report, I had the opportunity to perform a comparison between monetization modalities that we originally classified as open core in the first edition of our work with the more recent database of OSS companies and their adopted models (such an analysis can be found in our guide as well). An interesting observation was the shifting perspective on what open core actually is, and to present some examples on why I believe that the “original” open core nearly disappeared, while a “new” model was behind the more recent claims that this has become one of the preferred models for OSS companies.

In the beginning, we used as a classification criteria the distinction of code bases: an Open Core company was identified by the fact that the commercial product had a different source code base (usually an extension of a totally OS one), and the license to obtain the commercial was exclusive (so as to distinguish this from the “dual licensing” model). In the past, open core was more or less a re-enactment of shareware of old; that is, the open source edition was barely functional, and usable only to perform some testing or evaluation, but not for using in production. The “new” open core is more a combination of services and some marginal extension, that are usually targeted for integration with proprietary components or to simplify deployment and management. In this sense, the “real” part of open core (that is, the exclusive code) is becoming less and less important – three years ago we estimated that from a functional point of view the “old” open core model separated functions at approximately 70% (the OS edition had from 60% to 70% of the functions of the proprietary product), while now this split is around 90% or even higher, but is complemented with assurance services like support, documentation, knowledge bases, the certification of code and so on.

Just to show some examples: DimDimWe have synchronized this release to match the latest hosted version and released the complete source code tree. Bear in mind that features which require the Dimdim meeting portal (scheduling & recording to note) are not available in open source. There is also no limit to the number of attendees and meetings that can be supported using the Open Source Community Edition.” If you compare the editions, it is possible to see that the difference lies (apart from the scheduling and recording) in support and the availability of professional services (like custom integration with external authentication sources).

Alfresco: The difference in source code lies in the clustering and high-availability support and the JMX management extensions (all of which may be replicated with some effort by using pure OSS tools). Those differences are clearly relevant for the largest and most complex installations; from the point of view of services, the editions are differentiated through availability of support, certification (both of binary releases and of external stacks, like database and app server), bug fixing, documentation, availability of upgrades and training options.

Cynapse (an extremely interesting group collaboration system): The code difference lies in LDAP integration and clustering; the service difference lies in support, availability of certified binaries, knowledgebase access and official documentation.

OpenClinica (a platform for the creation of Electronic Data Capture systems used in pharmaceutical trials and in data acquisition in health care); from the web site: “OpenClinica Enterprise is fully supported version of the OpenClinica platform with a tailored set of Research Critical Services such as installation, training, validation, upgrades, help desk support, customization, systems integration, and more.”

During the compilation of the second FLOSSMETRICS database I found that the majority of “open core” models were actually moving from the original definition to an hybrid monetization model, that brings together several separate models (particularly the “platform provider”, “product specialist” and the proper “open core” one) to better address the needs of customers. The fact that the actual percentage of code that is not available under an OSS license is shrinking is in my view a positive fact: because it allows for the real OSS project to stand on its own (and eventually be reused by others) and because it shows that the proprietary code part is less and less important in an ecosystem where services are the real key to add value to a customer.

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Conference announcement: SITIS09 track, Open Source Software Development and Solution

I am pleased to forward the conference announcement; I believe that my readers may be interested in the OSSDS track on open source development and solutions:

The 5th International Conference on Signal Image Technology
and Internet Based Systems (SITIS’09)
November 29 – December 3, 2009
Farah Kenzi Hotel
Marrakech, Morocco

In cooperation with ACM, IFIP TC 2 WG 2.13, IEEE (pending)

The SITIS conference is dedicated to research on the technologies used to represent, share and process information in various forms, ranging multimedia data to traditional structured data and semi-structured data found in the web. SITIS spans two inter-related research domains that increasingly play a key role in connecting systems across network centric environments to allow distributed computing and information sharing.

SITIS 2009 aims to provide a forum for high quality presentations on research activities centered on the following tracks:

  • The focus of the track “Information Management & Retrieval Technologies” (IMRT) is on the emerging modeling, representation and retrieval techniques
  • that take into account the amount, type and diversity of information accessible in distributed computing environment. The topics include data semantics and ontologies, spatial information systems, Multimedia databases, Information retrieval and search engine, and applications.
  • The track “Web-Based Information Technologies & Distributed Systems” (WITDS) is devoted to emerging and novel concepts, architectures and methodologies for creating an interconnected world in which information can be exchanged easily, tasks can be processed collaboratively, and communities of users with similarly interests can be formed while addressing security threats that are present more than ever before.  The topics include information system interoperability, emergent semantics, agent-based systems, distributed and parallel information management, grid, P2P, web-centric systems, web security and integrity issues.
  • The track “Open Source Software Development and Solution” (OSSDS) focuses on new software engineering method in distributed and large scaled environments, strategies for promoting, adopting, and using Open Source Solutions and case studies or success stories in specific domains. The topics include software engineering methods, users and communities’ interactions, software development platforms, open Source developments and project management, applications domain, case studies.

In addition to the above tracks, SITIS 2009 includes workshops; the final list of workshop will be provided later.

Submission and publication
The conference will include keynote addresses, tutorials, and regular and workshop sessions. SITIS 2009 invites submission of high quality and original papers on the topics of the major tracks described below. All submitted papers will be peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers for technical merit, originality, significance and relevance to track topics.

Papers must be up to 8 pages and follow IEEE double columns publication format. Accepted papers will be included in the conference proceedings and  published by IEEE Computer Society and referenced in IEEE explore and major  indexes.

Submission site :

Important dates
* Paper Submission: July 15th, 2009
* Acceptance/Reject notification: August 15th, 2009
* Camera ready / Author registration: September 1st, 2009

Local organizing committee (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco)
* Aziz Elfaazzikii (Chair)
* El Hassan Abdelwahed
* Jahir Zahi
* Mohamed El Adnani
* Mohamed Sadgal
* Souad Chraibi
* Said El Bachari

Track Open Source Software Development and Solutions (OSSDS)
IFIP TC 2 WG 2.13

The focus of this track is on new software engineering method for Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) development in distributed and large scaled
environments, strategies for promoting, adopting, using FLOSS solutions and case studies or success stories in specific domains.

Software Engineering methods, users and communities interactions, software
development platforms:

* Architecture and patterns for FLOSS development
* Testing and reliability of FLOSS
* Software engineering methods in distributed collaborative environments
* Licencing and other legal issues
* Documentation of FLOSS projects
* CASE tool to support FLOSS development
* Agile principles and FLOSS development
* Mining in FLOSS projects

Applications domain, case studies, success stories:

* Geospatial software, services and applications
* Bioinformatics
* FLOSS for e-government and e-administration
* FLOSS in public sector (e.g. education, healthcare…)
* FLOSS solutions for data intensive applications
* FLOSS and SOA, middleware, applications servers
* FLOSS for critical applications
* FLOSS in Grid and P2P environments
* Tools and infrastructures for FLOSS development
* Scientific computing
* Simulation tools
* Security tools

Development and project management:

* Ecology of FLOSS development
* FLOSS stability, maintainability and scalability
* FLOSS evaluation, mining FLOSS data
* FLOSS and innovation
* Experiments, reports, field studies and empirical analysis
* FLOSS for teaching software engineering
* Revenue models
* Security concerns in using FLOSS
* Users involvement in design and development of FLOSS
* Building sustainable communities

Track Chairs

* Thierry Badard (University of Laval, Canada)
* Eric Leclercq (University of Bourgogne, France)

Program Committee

Abdallah Al Zain (Heriot-Watt University, UK)
Claudio Ardagna (Universita degli Studi di Milano, Italy)
Carlo Daffara (Conecta, Italy)
Ernesto Damiani (University of Milan, Italy)
Mehmet Gokturk (Gebze Institute of Technology, Turkey)
Scott A. Hissam (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Frédéric Hubert (University of Laval, Canada)
Puneet Kishor (University of Wisconsin-Madison and Open Source Geospatial
Foundation, USA)
Frank Van Der Linden (Philips, Netherlands)
Gregory Lopez (Thales group, France)
Sandro Morasca (Universita degli Studi dell’Insubria, Italy)
Pascal Molli (University of Nancy, France)
Eric Piel (University of Delft, The Netherlands)
Eric Ramat (University of Littoral, France)
Sylvain Rampacek (University of Bourgogne, France)
Marinette Savonnet (University of Bourgogne, France)
Charles Schweik, University of Massachussets, Amherst, USA)
Alberto Sillitti (University of Bolzano, Italy)
Megan Squire (Elon University, USA)
Marie-Noelle Terrasse (University of Bourgogne, France)
Christelle Vangenot (EPFL, Switzerland)

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Just finished: the final edition of the SME guide to open source

It has been an absolutely enjoyable activity to work in the context of the FLOSSMETRICS project with the overall idea of helping SMEs to adopt, and migrate to, open source and free software. My proposed approach was to create an accessible and replicable guide, designed to help both those interested in exploring what open source is, and in helping companies in the process of offering services and products based on OSS; now, two years later, I found references to the previous editions of the guide in websites across the world, and was delighted in discovering that some OSS companies are using it as marketing material to help prospective customers.

So, after a few more months of work, I am really happy to present the fourth and final edition of the guide (PDF link) that will (I hope) improve in our previous efforts. For those that already viewed the previous editions, chapter 6 was entirely rewritten, along with a new chapter 7 and a newly introduced evaluation method. The catalogue has been expanded and corrected in several places (also thanks to the individual companies and groups responsible for the packages themselves) and the overall appearance of the PDF version should be much improved, compared to the automatically generated version.


I will continue to work on it even after the end of the project, and as before I welcome any contribution and suggestion.

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A new way to select among FLOSS packages: the FLOSSMETRICS approach

One of the “hidden” costs of the adoption or migration to FLOSS is the selection process – deciding which packages to use, and estimating the risk of use when a project is not “mature” or considered enterprise-grade. In the COSPA migration project we found that in many instances the selection and evaluation process was responsible for 20% of the total cost of migration (including both the actual process, and the cost incurred in selecting the wrong package and then re-performing the assessment with a new one).

The problem of software selection is that there is a full spectrum of choices, and a different attitude to risk – a research experiment may be more interested in features, while a mission-critical adoption may be more interested in the long-term survivability of the software they are adopting. For this reason many different estimating methods were researched in the past, including EU-based research projects (the QSOS method, SQO-OSS, QUALOSS) and business-oriented systems like OpenBRR or the Open Source Maturity Model of CapGemini. The biggest problem of those methods is related to the fact that the non-functional assessment (that is, estimating the “quality” of the code and its community and liveness) is a non-trivial activity, that involves the evaluation and understanding of many different aspects of how FLOSS is produced.

For this reason we have worked within the FLOSSMETRICS project on a new approach that is entirely automated, and based on automated extraction of the “quality” parameters from the available information on the project (its repository and mailing lists). The first result is a set of significant variables, that collectively give a set of quality indicators of the code and the community of developers around the project; these indicators will be included in the public database of projects, and will give a simple “semaphore”-like indication of what aspects may be critical and what are the project strengths.

On the other hand we have worked on the integration of the functional aspects in the evaluation process – that is, how to weight in features vs. the risk that the project may introduce. For this reason we have added to our guide a new, simplified evaluation schema, that includes both aspects in a single graph.

Creating a graph for a product selection involves three easy steps:

  • starting from the list of features, extract those considered to be indispensable from the optional ones; all projects lacking in indispensable features are excluded from the list.
  • for every optional feature a +1 score is added to the project “feature score”, obtaining a separate score for each project.
  • using the automated tools from FLOSSMETRICS, a readiness score is computed using the following rule: for every “green” in the liveness and quality parameters a +1 score is added, -1 for every “red”.

This gives for each project a position in a two-dimensional graph, like this one:


The evaluator can then prioritize the selection according to the kind of adoption that is planned: those that are mission-critical and that requires a high project stability (and a good probability that the project itself is successful and alive) will prefer the project positioned on the right-hand of the graph, while those that are more “experimental” will favour the project placed in the top:


This approach integrates the advantage of automated estimation of quality (and can be applied to the FLOSSMETRICS parameters or the previous QSOS ones) with a visual approach that provides in a single image the “risk” or inherent suitability of a set of projects. I hope that this may help in reducing that 20% of cost that is actually spent in deciding which package to use, thus improving the economic effectiveness or freeing more resources for other practical activities.

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The FLOSSMETRICS/OpenTTT guide in French

Just a brief update: the NTIC, CRCI Bourgogne and ARIST jointly translated our FLOSSMETRICS/OpenTTT guide for small and medium enterprises in French:

The guide is available as a pdf file. For more information: this page at AgenceNTIC Bourgogne.

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