Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tracking Open Source Projects

I just found out about one interesting project that tracks tons of Open Source projects, including Woodstox: Ohloh. Although it is not exactly brand new (seems to have been announced at Slashdot almost a year ago), it is new to me. It also looks quite interesting in itself, with thorough tracking of the project based on historical source level activity (which is one of few fundamentally important things one can automatically track). Another related to service is SourceKibitzer, of which existence I have been vaguely aware of, having seen references to it in Google results. However, I hadn't really checked it out before. Woodstox is listed there as well, and even StaxMate. Perhaps they are automatically spidering the full Codehaus? (although list does not contain all projects, it may be just due to filtering of "dead" projects from Codehaus). Both sites provide automatically generated statistics, which are interesting to some degree. On positive side, it is possible to keep those up-to-date automatically, and allow things to scale nicely. But on the other hand, mechanical non-subjective metrics only go that far. That may be alleviated by building a community to provide actual human-originated feedback. That may well be the source of biggest future improvements.

All in all it is interesting to note the increasing "meta-activity" regarding Open Source projects. That is, projects that are not first order open source projects, but that track others in some way. I guess this is second (or third?) wave of "Open Source Portals": I remember Jars.com that started about ten years ago (and seemed to collapse not very long from its launch... not sure if my Fractalizer fun tool was ever really even reviewed). But the latest additions actually add bit more meat around the bones.

On a related note, it is also interesting to see even more commercially-minded Open Source Watchdogs. For example, OpenLogic provides "certified Open Source" support, including consulting and even indemnification. As the writer of underlying software, it would nice to be kept bit more in the loop; but at least it is very interesting to see how Open Source Eco(no)system is evolving.

So I guess we live in exciting times. As always!

ps. Now I also now what is one possible cost-based price (cost for implementing similar package from the scratch, based on source code size) for Woodstox. How much? $657,331, it seems. Sounds reasonable: anyone interested in bidding for full rights for the source code? :-)

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