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Open Source Pitfalls - and How to Avoid Them [April 21, 2014]

Submitted on
Monday, April 21, 2014
,
Network World

By Maria Korolov, Network World

It's hard to imagine a company these days that isn't using open source software somewhere, whether it's Linux running a company's print and web servers, the Firefox browser on user desktops, or the Android operating system on mobile devices. In, fact, there are now more than a million different open source projects, according to Black Duck Software, a maker of open source management tools and owner of the Ohloh open source software directory. And open source continues to grow. According to an SAP research report, the number of open source projects roughly doubles every 14 months. But not all open source projects are created equal. According to Ohloh, for the 100,375 projects for which activity information is available, around 80 percent were listed as having low activity, very low activity or were completely inactive...

The success or failure of any particular open source project depends strongly on the community surrounding it – the developers who contribute code, the testers, the documentation writers, the people who answer questions in support forums, and the end users. There are a number of ways to gauge the size and activity level of an open source project's community. Ohloh offers one tool. Another approach is to go to the project's home page or the site where it's hosted and check out the history of code commits and the activity on the discussion boards.

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