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Rating System for Open Source Software

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the smartly-smartly dept.

Software 207

prostoalex writes "Carnegie Mellon University, Intel and SpikeSource are launching a rating system for open source software, New York Times says. OpenBRR 'is being proposed as a new standard model for rating open source software. It is intended to enable the entire community (enterprise adopters and developers) to rate software in an open and standardized way.'"

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Oh No! (5, Funny)

AAeyers (857625) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218119)

This could be hurtful! Everyone should be a winner!

Think of the children!

Re:Oh No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218184)

There is a way to be so lucky.

some kids get it easier than others [frontpagemag.com]

Re:Oh No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218197)

That's the reason that "traditional" sports days in British primary schools have been banned.

Re:Oh No! (1)

Ithika (703697) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218465)

Poppycock, complete and utter. Just today I was reading in the newspaper (The Herald) about a parent who had been shocked by the primal behaviour of other parents at his/her daughter's sports day. Sports day is alive and well; playground kickabouts have not been banned; exams still get marked with a potential 'fail' grade. Do not adjust your television sets, but please upgrade your newspaper as it's feeding you shit.

I RATE SLASHCODE THE BIGGEST FAGWARE OF THEM ALL! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218365)

Have you SEEN this "Slashcode" shit? I wouldn't plop that pile of CmdrTaco shit on my worst enemy! HEY SLASHCODE "CODERS": YOU SUCK!

Meet the Fockers: 9th place ribbons? (1)

rmallico (831443) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218577)

Got me thinking about the 9th place ribbon Gaylord had in the 'shrine'...

rate this...

FUD from the NYT (4, Insightful)

Catamaran (106796) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218120)

The author of the article talks as though evaluating software objectively were a problem unique to adopters of Open Source:
Free software, despite the price, can be confusing and costly for corporations to use. A few freely distributed programs, like the Linux operating system and the Apache Web server, have become well known, but most are still unproved.
A more simple and accurate statement would be, "Software can be confusing and costly".

Re:FUD from the NYT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218146)

how is this FUD? Most of the software on Sourceforge would meet the definition of unproved.

Try not being a knee-jerk fanboi for just one second.

Re:FUD from the NYT (2, Insightful)

1000101 (584896) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218204)

"A more simple and accurate statement would be, "Software can be confusing and costly"."

The entire article is about open source software, not all software. His statement is valid.

Re:FUD from the NYT (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218407)

Hah! The main difference is that with OSS, at least you can evaluate the software if you choose to spend the time to do so, without paying a big fee and agreeing to a ridiculous license. Furthermore, with commercial software there is more incentive to lie and exaggerate the software capabilities.

I don't blame the NYT, but I'd love to hear the rationalization for limiting the rating system to OSS. I know I'd love to rate a few of the commercial applications I've used. Some shareware sites do have ratings systems of a sort, but it's a sticky issue all around. Even comparing two cpu's that implement the exact same instruction set is something we can't all agree on!

Re:FUD from the NYT (1)

Cyno (85911) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218608)

Valid to whom?

I don't buy it.. but, then again, I use FOSS software all the time. So I'm confused why these big megabucks corps are confused. Didn't their exec go to highschool?

Software can be confusing and costly, if you're a moron.

Re:FUD from the NYT (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218235)

It is totally a problem unique to Open Source. We're all perfectly informed as to:
How empowering IBM's Software is.
How much we can get done using Microsoft software.
How well Oracle scales
And all thanks to their advertising. I mean, it's as if we already know EVERYTHING without even having to do any silly reading. When was the last time you had to actually install Microsoft software to know how good it was?

Thank goodness for TV.

Re:FUD from the NYT (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218266)

Well, based on what I see during the install, I can see where spammers get their ideas for various enhancement products...

Please stop calling everything FUD (1)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218247)

Really, cut the paranoia.

While you do have a point, you really went to great pains to misunderstand what the author wanted to say.

Free software is still uncharted territory for many companies and they have no point of reference to see if some free software fits their needs or not, or even simply if it is ready for production use.

This can make the adoption of free software more confusing than staying with your propietary software, which probably is the reason why some people thought up the project the article is about.

I really fail to see what should be FUD about this.

Re:Please stop calling everything FUD (1)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218591)

The grandparent's point is that this is as much an issue with Proprietary code as it is with Open source. It's actually worse with closed source because you have any number of the following problems (in no specific order):
  1. Licenses which purport to take away your right to freely review the product
  2. Sales people who only get paid {,decently} if they sell as many copies of the software as possible,
  3. an inability to try the 'live' software without having to fork out the full price.
  4. developers who may have no freedom to talk openly about the bugs they know about
  5. no opportunity to see/change the underlying source code
These questions are pretty much unique to closed source. The real wierdity is that the licenses that some propreitary software has might make this sort of list (at least purportedly) illegal for them.

Re:FUD from the NYT (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218396)

The author of the article talks as though evaluating software objectively were a problem unique to adopters of Open Source

Not unique to open source but it affects open source projects more since they don't always have the marketing dollars to get word of a good product out there.

I can see how you might feel that way.. (3, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218445)

But the truth is propriety software is quite well reviewed (there's an entire industry who makes it their business to review and recommend commercial software, usually somewhat usefully).

Reading reviews of you're favorite Windows Antivirus software or researching an enterprise class database package will turn up a wealth of infomation (of course you still need to dig into it and make the final decision, but some things simply can't be helped:).

OSS software is comparably a total mess, with only certain major projects (and not surpisingly usually projects with some sort commercial support, i.e. apache, mysql, sendmail, etc, but the water gets pretty muddy quickly).

And aside from all those mainly concrete (maybe to you and I anyway) worries there are other concerns when reviewing OSS software for deployment in a business/production environment: support, boss appeal; someone has to sign off even if the software is free, that the software is mature/will meet or exceed your needs and that (if you decide to leave the company) its reasonably well supported (so someone that comes in and doesn't know the particular software has a reasonably good chance of configuring and maintaining it).

Those crazy business people.

Re:I can see how you might feel that way.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218527)

I really like how you used "who" for an industry:

there's an entire industry who makes it their business to review and recommend commercial software, usually somewhat usefully

But not for people:

so someone that comes in and doesn't know the particular software has a reasonably good chance of configuring and maintaining it

Congratulations, you're now officially leading in race for Grammar Moron of the Week. I know your mother will be very proud if you win, which looks quite likely.

Re:FUD from the NYT (1)

fbg111 (529550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218501)

The author of the article talks as though evaluating software objectively were a problem unique to adopters of Open Source:

Good point, it's a problem with all software, and even moreso with proprietary software, I would argue. Open Source has the advantage that you can try/evaluate it indefinitely, inspect the source code yourself, and it rarely comes with a spiel from some idiot salesman that has never coded a day in his life yet says it can do everything you ask if it can do, even when it can't.

This rating system is not necessarily a bad thing though, especially if it helps non-techies become less intimidated by the still-techie-centric OSS world. However, it would be nice to apply it to all software, not just OSS. If the metrics could be made reasonably impartial, then it could be quite useful.

Re:FUD from the NYT (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218581)

A few freely distributed programs, like the Linux operating system and the Apache Web server, have become well known, but most are still unproved.

Surely, Captain Kirk, wrote that, article.

I have rated their rating system. (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218122)

Rating: Lame-O

Newsworthy? I think not.

About freakin' time. (4, Funny)

generic-man (33649) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218133)

If you execute a specific elisp file at a key time, emacs displays a very graphic mini-game involving Richard Stallman. As a responsible parent, I want to make sure that this sort of thing isn't seen by my children when I'm not watching them.

I applaud this rating system and wish it well.

Re:About freakin' time. (2, Funny)

Infernal Device (865066) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218164)

If you execute a specific elisp file at a key time, emacs displays a very graphic mini-game involving Richard Stallman.

I would pay money not to see that.

My eyes! The burning!

Re:About freakin' time. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218176)

It's called "Hot Bath" and because this involves Richard Stallman, it could make kids' heads explode.

Re:About freakin' time. (1)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218210)

Oh, don't get your undies in a bunch. It's basically just Stallman and ESR "talking nerdy" to each other. There's hardly any physical contact, and what little there is is better described as "awkward" than "hot man-on-man action". Finally, and most importantly, it's important to note that they're both fully clothed.

*shudder*

(I kid! I kid!)

Re:About freakin' time. (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218215)

> If you execute a specific elisp file at a key time, emacs displays a very graphic mini-game involving Richard Stallman. As a responsible parent, I want to make sure that this sort of thing isn't seen by my children when I'm not watching them.

You think you've got trouble? I bought this goddamn O'Reilly book [oreilly.com] , and right there in Bob-damned Chapter 15 if it ain't instructions on how to get Hot Coffee!

Re:About freakin' time. (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218563)

Emacs is already rated M - mature software. Can it get any worse? ;)

For Adults Only (1)

Danger Stevens (869074) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218604)

"After pressure from Microsoft and organizations representing parents of impressionable young nerds the bash shell has been rated NC-35 in an attempt to keep anyone from using it until they are a confirmed and lonely bachelor"

.. so i could give them four thumbs down! (1)

Rethcir (680121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218135)

Seems to me like the quality of an open source program is directly corelated to how popular it is, since more users directly leads to more people fixing nagging bugs.

Re:.. so i could give them four thumbs down! (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218167)

...no. MySQL is the "world's most popular open source database", and is fairly horrible compared to both free alternatives like PostgreSQL and commercial alternatives like Oracle.

Re:.. so i could give them four thumbs down! (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218633)

No, believe it or not, there are some open source programs whose primary users are not intended to also wear a developer hat. I saw an Ask Slashdot for a OSS movie ticketing system. The $6 / hr (sorry, not up on US minimum wage, insert proper number) teenagers and resident tech geek who keeps the printers running are both unlikely to be able to delve into the code and fix a race condition. It will be "Reset, kick box, pray" like it is in most of the world.

Rather ironic... (1)

soullessbastard (596494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218138)

So the site exists to provide feedback on open source software, but yet all of the RFC documents they provide for public consumption are using Microsoft Office formats. Seems like using OpenDocument or PDF would have been a bit more appropriate. What better introduction could you have to businesses than to let them know the world doesn't revolve around Microsoft Office.

ed

Re:Rather ironic... (1)

deft (253558) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218150)

Actually you want them to be able to open it, and there might be a good chance that the people wanting to see an rating AREN'T using open software, but are considering it.

Re:Rather ironic... (1)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218214)

Here here. This is the first thing I noticed as well. I'm all for a rating system for open source projects (even if people use it for no other reason than to find projects that they hadn't found anywhere else). However how hypocritcal can we possibly be when we write reviews of open source software in a non-open source format? Good grief, people. What the hell were you thinking?

Frankly I prefer a review system based on raw numbers such as how FreshMeat.net [freshmeat.net] handles ratings. How many downloads does a project get? How many click-throughs does the website get? How often does the project release new versions? How have individuals rated the project? Even SourceForge's [sourceforge.net] rating system is a useful tool. I don't want people to give me a lengthy book review. Just give ma thumbs up or down in mass and I'll take it from there.

Re:Rather ironic... (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218435)

The Freshmeat method is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't go anywhere far enough. What does it tell you?

Obviously, popularity doesn't mean anything or we would still be using Windows. Downloads don't tell you anything about how good a project is. Downloads from repeat "customers" might, but Freshmeat doesn't tell you that. Clickthrus to the website don't tell you anything about how good a project is. It only tells you how enticing the project description is.

I want to discount their "vitality" statistic. Why should it matter how often software is released? Why should a good project that makes major releases every twelve months have less vitality than a crappy project that puts out a trivial release every two days? Why should a project that only announces it major versions on Freshmeat be marked down just because it doesn't announce every minor bugfix there as well? And what about *mature* and *stable* projects? All the vitality stat tells you is how often the software is changing. A high vitality is actually a mark of instability!

Users rating the project *does* tell you a lot. Unfortunately very few users rate projects. Freshmeat gives you a lot of metrics, but just like the stupid process at work, all it's good for is grist for some manager's PowerPoint presentation.

"And here on page 13 we can see that our website click thru to vitality ratio jumped two points in the last quarter. Thanks Bob for making that happen. Now moving on to the subscription statistics..."

This is a Gates chess move. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218273)

This move looks like a really strategic chess move. What better way to limit the open source market than to be the group that decides which software is cool or not. I think while there SHOULD be a way to rate software, it should not be monopolized by one group. There should be several groups working on a project such as this.

Bow down to purity... (1)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218421)

...God forbid your target audience (remember them? the people whom you would like to convert to Open Source, but AREN'T USING IT YET) should be able to read TFA. Ironic is your belief that only through studiously avoiding the software used by 95% (?) of the world can we hope to reach 95% of the world.

Re:Rather ironic... (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218520)

Here here... I'd go a step further and save all of the files as LaTex files so you can easily convert them to whatever format you want. If the CIOs don't have the necessary software to convert/read LaTex files this will be a great opportunity to tell them to RTFM, write the code themselves, or atleast install the right software using apt-get or portage. So not only do they learn about the rating system they'll learn a lot about the community too.

As long as they make the right choices (1)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218140)

As long as they make the right choices and rate vi, ehr, I mean emacs, no, I mean Gnome, wait no, KDE, oh, what I mean is xine, wait, no, I was talking about mplayer to be the best application, everything will be fine.

Re:As long as they make the right choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218579)

I think you meant to say nano, Xfce, and vlc.

Apology accepted.

Good idea... (3, Interesting)

msmercenary (837876) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218141)

I can't count how many times I've googled for some OSS to do a specific task, and found what I wanted only after installing and uninstalling four programs that were buggy, slow, didn't have the features I wanted, or simply wouldn't build/install.

On the flip side, there has always been an inherent and objective rating system for the quality of non-free software -- At what price will enough people purchase it to make it worth producing?

Re:Good idea... (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218208)

Well don't ask Intel. They are the worst people for rating anything. It's going to come down to whether it is optimized for their instructions to get points.

Re:Good idea... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218457)

On the flip side, there has always been an inherent and objective rating system for the quality of non-free software -- At what price will enough people purchase it to make it worth producing?
I'd say the opposite is closer to the truth! In my experience, expensive software tends to be niche software with only a few customers, and plenty of rough edges. The cheap, workaday software (say, WinZip) is polished. Price has more to do with the dynamics of the competitive environment - value is just the upper bound on the price.

Most people are stupid, this will not work... (1)

Manip (656104) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218149)

This is a silly idea. Most people don't know what good software is, they will always pick the thing with a giant paper-clip over something that runs ten fold faster... I fail to see how this is valid. Not least of all because a lot of OpenSource software isn't designed for the public domain and thus who would be able to say good things about it?

I would also like to ask what software being OpenSourced (as opposed to Closed or Free source) has to do with a rating system? Also what value is there is a 'standard' rating? And what is the standard? User Friendliness? Configuration? Standardisation? etc

Re:Most people are stupid, this will not work... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218236)

I was thinking the same thing.

Why should open source software be rated different than normal software? Its not like being open source automatically makes you better than the competition. I mean, how convincing would it be if a Linux distro openly proclaimed it was lackluster compared to Windows, but the fact that it is open source makes it better than it?

I'm sorry, but I use software to get things done, not gloat about how I'm using an open source program.

Re:Most people are stupid, this will not work... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218409)

Blah, if you RTFA you'd know what the standard was.

Re:Most people are stupid, this will not work... (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218598)

And do you know what "good" software is? Is there a defintion somewhere as to what "Good" is? That's what OSS geeks don't understand... there IS NO OBJECTIVE "GOOD". Most people (myself included) think that Windows is "good" because it's easy to use and it's cheap and it just works. I don't care about bloat, I don't care about compatibility. I don't care about the quality of code. "Good" in my mind is quite different than what you may call "Good".

And the whole reason for this is that most OSS is still very obscure. There are a few that shine (Apache, VNC), but most are programs most people have never heard of. So instead of downloading 10 copies of a DVD player, with none of them working properly, I could instead look at the ratings (TuCows, Download.com, etc.) and make a slightly more informed decision.

If they do it right, it will help identify what... (1)

daviq (888445) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218151)

If they do it right, it will help identify what open source projects are auctually still being updated and which ones have potential. What I see here is a rating guide for investors to choose projects to pour their funding into.

Moderating.... (2, Funny)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218157)

The rating system has 11 categories, including Normal, Offtopic, Flamebait, Troll, Redundant, Insightful, Interesting, Informative, Funny, Overrated and Underrated.

Each category is to be rated -1 to 5.

There will also be filtering tools so a potential corporate user can specify its most important considerations.

Welcome to chessmind people! (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218331)

First we rate professors. Then we rate corporations. Finally we rate software. The question is, who's doing the rating? The open source community? Or a secretive group of execs who all have a stake in Microsoft? Read between the lines, its a strategic move. Microsoft knows that to stop open source they have to influence how its viewed, and how the software is viewed, which software can become popular and which cant. What better way to do this than to control the standard body that reviews software? Look, if software needs to be reviewed, let each corporation hire someone to do that. Or better let the corporation hire the community to do these studies, but do not EVER allow the private sector corporations to review itself. It just does not make any sense unless you are Bill Gates and or work for Microsoft.

Re:Moderating.... (2, Funny)

50m31sl4sh. (854939) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218383)

In other news, SCO OpenServer 6 [slashdot.org] was recently rated by new system.
It is the first software ever that has been assigned ratings Flamebait, Troll and Offtopic.

When You Thought It Was Safe To Program... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218159)

Does this mean that an Adult Only rating will be applied if the source code contains excessive amount of profanity in the comments? Will the U.S. Congress tax any OSS with an Adult Only rating? Will having clean code become the norm?

Re:When You Thought It Was Safe To Program... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218183)

I see your future! You will be rated to +5 Insightful by others, like you, who didn't even bother reading the article.

Re:When You Thought It Was Safe To Program... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218209)

What is this "reading the article" you speak of?

And Windows get a .... (0)

DigitalDwarf (902246) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218160)

Wonder if they will have ratings on: Windows, Linex, Modzilla. Really wonder what kind of rateing Windows will get?

Re:And Windows get a .... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218260)

Since Windows is not Open Source Software, my guess is this does not apply.

Rate my pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218161)

General purpose software may or may not fit your needs, that's the advantage of F/OSS. Rate my pants, really there's about as much relevance to your companies IT adoption strategy in my shorts as there is in some random chump rating software.

Popularity ? (1)

glMatrixMode (631669) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218166)

FOSS has always been rated by popularity among users. What's wrong/insufficient with this good old natural rating system ?

Re:Popularity ? (1)

frankthechicken (607647) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218223)

Because Microsoft wins?

Re:Popularity ? (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218326)

It's time consuming to ask everybody whenever you're looking for some software. If you were choosing between qmail, exim, and sendmail, it would be tricky to accurately determine their popularities without some formal method. And applying a formal method takes a lot of work, which would need to be done by everyone trying to choose a program. The point of this project is to do that for you.

Re:Popularity ? (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218358)

Because if it were only up to popularity, you would still be using Windows!

Might be good to include ALL OS's (1)

deft (253558) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218168)

As someone who is a windows user I'd like to see objective direct comparisons for all OS's so that I can see what will be seamless and what i will have trouble with so i can see what I'm getting myself into.

I guess an analogy might be buying a new type of car. I only have my current car to judge the new one by, and I know my old car pretty well... so how does it stack up to my old car, and what are these new models they are offering.

Awesome! It uses an open file format (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218170)

Not! wtf is with using XLS files [openbrr.org] ?

1% good, 99% bad (1)

qube99 (652571) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218173)

That was easy! Thanks Intel!

i don't get spikesource (yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218181)

how do they differ from vetted rpms from redhat or debugged debs etc etc? really aren't they just distributing "debugged" metapackages? is there a business there outside of being a distro vendor?

YAY! (1)

codergeek42 (792304) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218182)

Now we have a way to continue the ongoing GNOME/KDE/Xfce flamewars! *sigh*

The problem with rating software... (1)

Dthoma (593797) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218188)

...is that often people will give a piece of software a low rating as a sort of "cry for help" if they can't figure out how to get it to work. Like, "I would've given X a 10/10 rating but I couldn't work out how to make it do Y.".

Re:The problem with rating software... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218248)

Good, then maybe software developers will improve their user interfaces. If a user can't figure out how to do X, then X might as well not even be implemented... it amounts to the same thing.

Re:The problem with rating software... (2, Insightful)

broller (74249) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218411)

If a user can't figure out how to do X, then X might as well not even be implemented... it amounts to the same thing.

I absolutely agree if we change it to "If all users can't figure out how to do X" but saying "a user" leaves no room for a learning curve. I think it's completely valid to expect that some software will be written that is not necessarily meant for the novice user.

Re:The problem with rating software... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218620)

If user can't figure out how to use a software, then software is obviously too hard to use so it deserves a low rating.

As good as CMM? (2, Insightful)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218218)

Carnegie-Mellon these are the guys who love to quantify the unquantifiable.

Didn't they also give us the "Capability Maturity Model"? I've seen organizations race to get to CMM-3 or CMM-4, and it's all been a joke.

A bunch of highly paid consultants tell everyone a new way to count beans ("under CMM, we group the beans starting from the right, not the left....").

Promises are made about code auditing, but once the CMM level has been awarded (usually by highly paid consultants who just happen to work with the highly paid consults who "mentored" the company's CMM training), all tat's actually done is that the people doing the real work of writing software are regularly distracted by a clown with a check-list and a clipboard.

Carnegie-Mellon continues to have a fetish for quantifying and for creating check-lists, and middle management continues to have a fetish for anything that allows them to quantify (even spuriously), because it takes the risk and bother out of their jobs.

Middle Manager: "The WordPerfect Project only got a 3 on the Carnegie Mellon software score, but the Clippy Project got a 5! So, it's perfectly safe for me to decide that to disband the WordPerfect Project and devote its resources to the Clippy Project. (And if it turns out later that was a bad decision, they can't fire me, because I relied on hard numbers generated by a known process!"

Re:As good as CMM? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218587)

From a personal perspective, I like to imagine software has been tested to death by totally anal people with checklists before I find my life depends on it.

Bound to be biased. (1)

Willy on Wheels (889645) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218238)

The competition in open source software is bitterly intense. What's to stop a bot being written to do en-masse bad ratings on a software that someone dosen't like?

offtopic but don't know where else to ask (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218267)

What's the longest slashdot thread ever? (don't mod me down please!) - A google search provided me with no answer, so, in case anyone knows, what's the longest slashdot thread ever?

Re:offtopic but don't know where else to ask (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218291)

Check the hall of fame. http://developers.slashdot.org/hof.shtml [slashdot.org]

Re:offtopic but don't know where else to ask (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218467)

I think he wanted to know the longest actual thread, not the story with the most comments.

Gentoo (1)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218275)

From the article: Each category is to be rated 1 to 5.

Gentoo has been given an OpenBRR of "1" for "1337 haxorz only."

oh good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218289)

another solution looking for a problem
 
THANKS OPEN SOURCE

Great! PHBs now have another reason to avoid OSS (1)

kimanaw (795600) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218314)

Yes, excellent idea. We'll rate all OSS with all these nice quantitative factors using mostly arbitrary value assignments, so the already risk-averse PHB community have yet another reason to avoid using OSS!

I'm certain the boys in the Redmond boardroom are all nodding their heads in delighted approval.

Perhaps members of the OSS community should turn the tables ? I suggest we create a set of metrics to rate the business users of OSS, e.g.,

  • Has XYZ Corp. contributed any patches ?
  • Has XYZ Corp. contributed any staff time ?
  • Has XYZ Corp. offered to hire the key developers for consulting or as FTE's ?
  • Has XYZ Corp. offered to pay for a support contract ?
  • Do users at XYZ Corp. know what they're doing when they send a support request ?
  • How do users at XYZ Corp. respond when told the feature/bugfix they want will take time or resources the development staff currently doesn't have ? Do they offer to contribute a fix, or offer any financial support ?

That is a rating system I could use!

Seriously, this is only a good idea for the PHB's looking to for reasons to avoid OSS, and it will likely kill small/niche OSS projects that don't have the huge download numbers these metrics seem to require.

Cool! (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218323)

But what if someone patches your M rated Open Source project and then it's retroactively changed to AO?

A good idea... (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218342)

I just hope this rating system doesn't suck as much as slashdot moderation.

mod parent up (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218561)

it would be ironic. ;)

Already been done. Capitalism go home. (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218362)

http://freshmeat.net/ [freshmeat.net] Pick any project. Look where it says rating. This is a measure of how much the software blows. Look underneath the rating and you'll see popularity. This measures how many people blew it. Go to work.

Use Chapelles rating system for closed/proprietary (1)

concept10 (877921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218385)

"I wish I had more hands, so I could give those titties four thumbs down."

Listen here: http://www.goyk.com/flash.asp?path=659/ [goyk.com]

1 to 10 (3, Funny)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218391)

1: absolutely horshit. stuff i wouldn't use if paid a million dolars.

10: barely usable, requires constant tweaking, stuck at version 0.9.3, crashes occasionally, and requires three new libraries each upgrade which break other applications.

You can't get away from subjective (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218393)

This is like rating computer games, or art, or anything else for that matter. It's subjective, and one person giving a considered score 9/10 doesn't mean another person trying to be equally fair doesn't give it 7/10.

Another thing: The evaluation often has to do with what you're using the software for. What would you rate better? A saw or a hammer? Depends on the situation right?

My system (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218410)

Slashcode is a 0, linux is a 4, firefox is a 5

It goes to a hundred. And its quasi-logarithmic.

Why Not... (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218436)

Why not use the existing standardized rating scale used for proprietary software?

Oh, wait...

Am I what? (1)

Lithus (733695) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218442)

So basically its 'Am I Hot or Not' for OSS.

Re:Am I what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13218514)

[free as in beer] . ._. . ._.._._._.___. . .__ .__ . ._. average rating
[free as in speech]...OpenGoatse 0.99pre-3..........0.3

(0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) [Vote!]

Maybe not such a good idea... (1)

dezmund (903218) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218486)

This may be a good idea for lesser known and/or specialized programs. I'd love for rankings on Octave/Scilab, so I could finally convince my bosses that we may not need *all* those Matlab licenses. But for religious applications like editors, gui toolkits, scripting languages, etc, it would be hard to get an unbiased sampling of users.

open source rating system (1)

abes (82351) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218498)

What I have wanted for a while, is website where people could comment on the best program to use if you want to do X. It doesn't have to have a *single* best answer, but provide some information, and allow a default setting for people who might feel overwhelmed with choices.

The website would have two modes: consumer, and reviewer. The consumer mode would provide a tree-like interface where you could click choices on what you want to do. A couple of examples would be:
draw->raster->most powerful
draw->vector->simple interface
files->format->mk2fs
publish->math->LaTeX

The reviewer mode would consist of entering a program, and filing it under the catagories you think best. As most projects are moving targets, it would set your comments to a specific version. Based on many people's input, the website would determine which projects each project would most likely fall into (so it can occur in several catagories at once). This also allows a consumer to come along, type in a program she/he uses, and find similiar programs that might fit his/her needs better.

Many systems have way more programs installed than an average (or expert) user knows about. There might very well be a program that can fit your needs, but without proper document/direction, can be difficult to find. Thus, a super-directory of all programs available would be a huge boost to the OSS community.

But will the contributed rating data be open? (1)

KrisWithAK (32865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218509)

Yes, it is nice to see someone taking a shot at a standard supported by the community to rate (open source) software. From what I took in from the article and related documents, I could not see any concrete indication on how the data will be collected and owned except for inside an example evaluation for Mambo [openbrr.org] . The license for the example is the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License [creativecommons.org] . As it can be plainly seen, one of the sponsors is SpikeSource [spikesource.com] who has a vested interest in selling "certified" open-source software stacks and update services.

The questions that this project brings up, as well as potentially raise, are:

  • Who will be evaluating the software?
  • Who will own the evaluation data and what will its license be? (I'm thinking of reasoning behind freedb [freedb.org] )
  • What if I want to sell my own software stack, and I'd like to give it a composite rating using contributed rating data? Am I out of luck because the data is owned by the openbrr partners?
  • Sure the rating matrix is open and standard, but what will be the mechanism in trust in the ratings? (How will we be able to determine the bias in the ratings? For example, what if JBoss contributed a rating for Apache Geronimo? Or more subtly, how would we trust a consulting company that is a "business partner" with MySQL to do a review on another database such as PostgreSQL?
  • Perhaps codeZoo [codezoo.com] being a partner in this effort is an indication that it could become the primary storage location for the rating data? Whoever is going to be the primary distributor for this information will be making a bid to eclipse all the other open-source software portals such as freshmeat [freshmeat.net] .

My take is I won't be interested in participating in a community project where participant contributions are not freely redistributable.

So exactly what is bad OSS? (1)

midicase (902333) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218559)

OSS is typically born out of one someone's particular need. Specifically it does not exist out of someone else's wants so I am unsure how these "someone else's" could rate someone's particular 'need'. The rating system would effectively be asking "Did someone WANT this software enough to fill MY needs?"

This is easy, it all sucks (1)

bigbinc (605471) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218586)

Just kidding. I think this is a good idea, but they
should be fare. I would hate a rating system give
every opensource project an A. I predict major grade inflation.

Rated "M" for Mature (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218615)

The best sort of OSS.

Race (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218643)

To register "ismysoftwarehotornot.com"

-Peter

freshmeat (1)

oo_waratah (699830) | more than 9 years ago | (#13218644)

I am wondering how this helps over freshmeat's rating system?

I personally use the slug.org.au rating system, ask at the next meeting how to do something and listen to the responses.
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