Open Source Software Is Getting Better All The Time
Good news for open source advocates: a recent study shows that not only is open source software reliable, the quality and security of open source software is getting better all the time.
The new study comes from Coverity, a long-time code analyzing company which has been running a statical analysis program known as Scan for the past two years. Scan looks at the source code of open source software projects to detect bugs and security flaws.
The Scan project is funded by the Department of Homeland Security, which wants to uncover (and fix) the most critical types of bugs found in open source software.
Coverity’s report, released May 20, shows that open source software is adept at rapidly patching bugs and even better, the overall number of bugs found has declined significantly in the last two years.
That means that not only are open-source developers creating high-quality new code, they’re also improving the existing code.
The report is based on 2 years of analysis of more than 55 million lines of code on a recurring basis, scanning over 250 popular open source projects like Linux, Apache, PHP, Perl, Python and other venerable names in the open source world. In that time some 8,500 individual defects have been corrected.
Although Coverity’s analysis isn’t going to detect every bug lurking in the dark corners of your favorite open source project, the survey does provide strong statistical evidence for the argument that code written by the community is every bit as secure and reliable as what you’ll find from proprietary vendors.
If you’d like more details on Coverity’s report, there’s a PDF available here.