The Total Growth of Open Source

Authors: Amit Desh­pande, Dirk Riehle

Abstract: Soft­ware devel­op­ment is under­go­ing a major change away from a fully closed soft­ware process towards a process that incor­po­rates open source soft­ware in prod­ucts and ser­vices. Just how sig­nif­i­cant is that change? To answer this ques­tion we need to look at the over­all growth of open source as well as its growth rate. In this paper, we quan­ti­ta­tively ana­lyze the growth of more than 5000 active and pop­u­lar open source soft­ware projects. We show that the total amount of source code as well as the total num­ber of open source projects is grow­ing at an expo­nen­tial rate. Pre­vi­ous research showed lin­ear and qua­dratic growth in lines of source code of indi­vid­ual open source projects. Our work shows that open source is expand­ing into new domains and appli­ca­tions at an expo­nen­tial rate.

Ref­er­ence: In Pro­ceed­ings of the Fourth Con­fer­ence on Open Source Sys­tems (OSS 2008). Springer Ver­lag, 2008. Page 197–209.

Avail­able as a PDF file or in HTML, also see the Adden­dum.

7 thoughts on “The Total Growth of Open Source

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  2. Juho Vepsäläinen


    Thanks for shar­ing the paper. Here’s a bib­tex entry for those inter­ested:
    @InProceedings{ desh­pan­de08,
    year = “2008”,
    author = “Amit Desh­pande and Dirk Riehle”,
    title = “The Total Growth of Open Source”,
    book­ti­tle = “Pro­ceed­ings of the Fourth Con­fer­ence on Open Source Sys­tems”,
    pages = “197–209”,
    pub­lisher = “Springer Ver­lag”

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