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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