An empirically-based criterion for determining the success of an open-source project

Dror G. Feitelson*, Gillian Z. Heller, Stephen R. Schach

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In order to determine a success criterion for open-source software projects, we analyzed 122,205 projects in the SourceForge database. There were 80,597projects with no downloads at all. We restricted our analysis to the 41,608 projects that together were downloaded 704,897,520 times. Contrary to what we had expected, the distribution of the number of downloads of each project is not Zipf-like; only a portion of the log-log plot of the number of downloads and their rank appears to be a straight line. We performed leastsquares analysis (utilizing the Bayesian information criterion) to divide the plot into three segments. On the basis of the shapes of the corresponding curves and the locations of their boundary points, we categorized the projects as follows: 85 superprojects (highly successful projects with more than 1.1 million downloads); just over 10,000 successful projects (with more than 1680 downloads each); and struggling projects (with 1680 downloads or fewer). In terms of our criterion, only a quarter of the projects that have one or more downloads can be deemed to be successful.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings - 2006 Australian Software Engineering Conference, ASWEC 2006 - Taming Complexity through Research and Practice
    Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
    PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    Pages363-368
    Number of pages6
    Volume2006
    ISBN (Print)0769525512, 9780769525518
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    Event2006 Australian Software Engineering Conference, ASWEC 2006 - Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 18 Apr 200621 Apr 2006

    Other

    Other2006 Australian Software Engineering Conference, ASWEC 2006
    CountryAustralia
    CitySydney
    Period18/04/0621/04/06

    Keywords

    • Distribution of downloads
    • Open-source software
    • SourceForge repository
    • Success criterion
    • Zipf-like distribution

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