FLOSS Data Sources

Continuing with the subject Project Evaluation, we can obtain a lot of information from many different data sources for any FLOSS project.

Here are some of the most important:

1. SCM system: with this type of systems we can study the structure and activity of a project, for example with metrics like:

  • Number of differnt developers in the project.
  • Number of commit per author.
  • Distribution  of community.
  • More activity by date.
  • Most changed files.
  • Number of usual programming  language used.
  • Evolution in number of new people coming to the community.
  • Evolution in number of commits

2. Mailing lists: this metrics give to us the posibility of study the size of the project and the social interactions between the collaborators:

  • Number of mailing lists.
  • Number of mails in the last year per mailing list.
  • Number of developers posting.
  • Number of users posting.
  • Number of mails per collaborator.
  • Evolution in the number of new people posting new mails.

3. Bug tracking system: this systems allows to us to get information about the stability and maturity of the project.

  • Total of bugs open.
  • Total of critical bugs.
  • Number of critical bugs open.
  • Number of bugs fixed.
  • Average number of bugs fixed per developer.
  • Number of bugs open by users.

4. Source code: studing the source code we can get information about the performance or the technical quality of the project, for example:

  • Number of functions.
  • Number of functions that call other functions.
  • Average length of identifiers used in the program.
  • Average length of words and sentences in documents.
  • Evolution of the number of lines.

We can get usefull infromation about a FLOSS project from a lot of different data sources, but is necesary our interpretation of this data and compare with other information about different products with the same functionality. If we have a great spectrum of objetive data about the FLOSS product that we are evaluating to select one of them easily, becuase we have more information to discard all of them that no covers our requeriments. In my opinion, when you are studying a project to select one of them, if you have all the information that you can, this is the best way to decide the most appropriate project for our situtation.

All of this resources we can get from the project website, like mailing list, bug tracker or the source code and also the SCM history, but there are other tools to get this information, like the website of Melquiades by FLOSSMetrics project.

References:

Producing OSS by Karl Fogel

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