What is it about?

This article is about how different organizations that work on free and open source software (FOSS) are doing over time. FOSS is software that anyone can use, change, or share without paying or getting permission. We looked at 1314 projects and 1.4 billion lines of code from different FOSS organizations. We wanted to see how much code, comments, and commits they had in the past 21 years. We found that there was less activity in FOSS projects and organizations now than before. We also found that bigger and older FOSS organizations had more decline in activity than smaller and newer ones. We think this is because FOSS is becoming more mature and less dependent on big organizations to connect developers.

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Why is it important?

The article provides the first large-scale analysis of code, comments, and commits frequency in FOSS organizations. The authors examined 1314 FOSS projects from 14 different organizations over a period of up to 21 years. We measured various indicators of FOSS activity, such as how often developers write code or comment on it, how many lines of code are produced or deleted, and how many changes are made to the code. The article reveals some interesting findings about the trends and patterns of FOSS activity over time. For example, we found that there is less activity now than there was a decade ago in most FOSS organizations. We also found that larger and more established organizations tend to have a greater decline in activity than smaller and newer ones. The authors suggest that this may be due to the maturity of technologies and business strategies related to FOSS, which reduces the need for large formal organizations to act as intermediaries between developers. The study provides valuable insights into the dynamics of FOSS communities and contributes to the understanding of online peer production phenomena. It s an important and timely contribution to the field of FOSS research. It offers a comprehensive and systematic analysis of code-related activity in various FOSS organizations over a long period of time. It also sheds light on some emerging trends and challenges that affect the development and sustainability of FOSS projects. The article is accessible to both experts and non-experts who are interested in learning more about the great importance and major findings of this study.


This research was interesting to run, as we found one researcher who fiercely objected to our findings, as he did not like the source database, even though it was the best available at the time (and likely/realistically, the only one that could provide such robust results).

Dariusz Jemielniak
Akademia Leona Kozminskiego

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Free and Open Source Software organizations: A large-scale analysis of code, comments, and commits frequency, PLoS ONE, September 2021, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257192.
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