Andreas Broeckmann on Tue, 16 May 2000 20:14:30 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> OFSS01: First Orbiten Free Software Survey

dear rishab,

thanks for posting these interesting results. as a first attempt at mapping
the field, this is a great undertaking. i'd like to take issue with the
following two paragraphs.

>Further findings relate to the distribution of authors among projects, and
>code base contribution. The top 1271 authors, 10% of the total, accounted
>for 72.3% of the total code base. The top 10 authors alone (0.08% of the
>total) are credited for 19.8% of the code base. Free software development
>may be distributed, but it is most certainly very top heavy.
>What goes for lines of code written goes for involvement in projects too.
>Only the top 25 authors (0.19% of the total) were credited with
>participation in more than 25 projects. The top 250 authors were credited
>with participation in over 5 projects, and the vast majority (over 77%) of
>authors were only involved in a single project. Our conclusion: Free
>software development is less a bazaar of several developers involved in
>several projects, more a collation of projects developed single-mindedly
>by a large number of authors.

while the first observation might be an indication of obsession, age, or
the fact that some 'authors' are more than one person, i really disagree
with the interpretation of the second observation: anybody knows that once
you are involved in more than 25 projects, this 'participation' is mostly
token and only serves representational goals (we have so-and-so on-board
...). even 10 projects is probably a lot for somebody who might not be
earning their livelihood with their OS projects.

more importantly, the 'bazaar' is not necessarily a result of multiple,
concrete cooperations, but one of a proximity (through newsgroups, mailing
lists, etc.) of people working on their own, separate projects. the Bazaar
has many individual shops between which advice, insult and information can
be shouted back an forth. it might even work better if there are not too
many people who stick their fingers into too many tents at any one time.

greetings from the outer periphery of that world ...


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