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May 28, 2013 / milllss

Information on Open Source projects – Ohloh and FLOSSMetrics

In this post I will introduce two projects which use the data in repositories (among other sources) to produce metrics/descriptions relating to Open Source software projects. Both projects have the goal (among others) of allowing one to quickly gauge the ‘health’ of an Open Source project.

Ohloh is produced by Black Duck Software on a continuing basis. It uses the code stored on Subversion, CVS and Git repositories (among others) to produce profiles of projects which are being tracked. At the moment there are around 160k Git projects on Ohloh… so its not attempting to profile all of the projects on these repositories. The page for a given project has various measures – including the languages used by the project and its activity levels (lines of code, number of commits/contributors) over time. Ohloh also collects ratings and reviews for projects from its own members, and there are wiki-type pages where ohloh users can produce descriptions of the projects.

Ohloh also presents information on the basis of people, for a given individual one can see which projects they are involved in, which languages they write in, and when they have committed code on each project. There is also an ohloh-specific method of awarding ‘kudos’ to developers for their work on projects. At a more general level one can also compare the prevalence of different languages across all of the projects being tracked by Ohloh.

FLOSSMetrics was funded by the European Commission from 2006-2009 – data collected by the project can be obtained through the Melquiades sister site. FLOSSMetrics took a 3-pronged approach to the analysis of projects – looking at SCM (Source Code Management) repositories, Mailing Lists associated with the projects, and Bug Trackers. In total there are 2,630 projects for which data of at least one type has been collected –  for 1,527 of these the SCM system has been analysed. There are far fewer projects profiled on FLOSSMetrics than Ohloh, and the profiles themselves are less descriptive (and obviously quite dated now). As part of FLOSSMetrics several useful-looking tools were developed and there is also comprehensive documentation on how these tools work, how they can be used, and reports on some analyses which were conducted on data collected/processed with these tools. I think CVSAnalY looks particularly useful – it takes the history log for a project and generates a database containing fine-grained data on how that project has developed over time (e.g. actions, commits, contributors).

Ohloh also provides access to some of the tools it uses to generate metrics, and an API through which its own data can be queried. I haven’t fully explored these yet so cannot comment on their utility.

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