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Report: Open-source quality growing as it goes primetime

By Scott Clark
on September 25, 2009

Given the vast and growing number of open-source projects, one would assume its quality had gone down as quantity went up. In fact, the inverse is true, suggests a new report from Coverity, which spent the past three years analyzing more than 11 billion lines lines of code from 280 open-source projects. This is crucial given open source’s increased importance to the software industry as a whole, and not merely self-styled “open-source companies.”

Among other findings, Coverity’s report reveals a 16-percent reduction in static analysis defect density. While Coverity’s analysis doesn’t cover all or even most open-source projects, which number in the hundreds of thousands, it does tell us a great deal about the quality of the more successful projects like Linux, Firefox, Samba, and PHP.

An open-source project will only be as good as the developers who work on it, but those developers have a strong motivation to make the code secure, robust, and high performance. The code is “naked,” as it were. The source code is open. Customers and competitors are noticing.

To read the full report, visit http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10360191-16.html