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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

MISC: Unexpected Results from Open Source Projects 

People have been touting the benefits of open source development projects for quite some time now. However, they like to present a rosy picture that all in the open source projects is great. Although there are some very attractive aspects to open source (like the price is right and developing solutions faster by extending and using an existing codebase), there are other pieces that open source developers don't like to talk about. Here is a blog about some examples of things that aren't discussed some times:

  • The myth that the community will fix the bugs in a project. The study found that there is a core group of developers who fix most of the bugs (about 70-80%) in an open source project. The vast majority of users just report bugs that are fixed by the core (which is very similar to the way closed source products work). This is because most people on the periphery don't have the necessary debugging skills and architectural knowledge to fix the bugs themselves.

  • Open source projects are not more maintainable. The study tracks some code usage and patterns in several projects and finds that over time they could end up even less maintainable and more tightly-coupled than paid products.

Remember there's a cost for everything. The only question is how much and when you pay it.

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