Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Open Source Growing At an Exponential Rate

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the gaining-ground dept.

Software 146

sipmeister writes "Two computer scientists who work for enterprise software giant SAP have shown that open source is growing at an exponential rate. Not only is the code base growing exponentially, but also the number of viable projects. Researchers Amit Deshpande and Dirk Riehle analyzed the database of open source startup ohloh.net and looked at the last 16 years of growth in open source. They consistently got the best fit for the data using an exponential model. Relating this to open source market revenue, Desphande and Riehle conclude that open source is eating into closed source at a non-trivial pace."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I for one (5, Funny)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748018)

I for one welcome our new open source overlords :)

Re:I for one (5, Funny)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748076)

Oh, thank you! My, what a friendly bunch of abject servants you all are. I simply must tell all my fellow FOSS overlords all about how sweet you all have been in accepting the yoke placed around your necks by our imperious hands.

Re:I for one (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748596)

Why is it when I read your comment, I heard it spoken in an effete British accent.

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749366)

Were your lips moving when you read it?

Re:I for one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22748108)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock smoking teabaggers!

Re:I for one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22748130)

Make sure to pay Microsoft for patent licenses, you cock smoking tea baggers.

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748634)

I think it's hilarious that you took the time to come back and proofread your troll. That's craftsmanship.

Re:I for one (1)

number1scatterbrain (976838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748138)

I don't know. The Google super-geniuses are already beginning to worry me...

Re:I for one (4, Insightful)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748404)

Why waste time welcoming us when you can contribute and become an overlord yourself? ;)

Re:I for one (4, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749462)

But if everyone is an overlord, who are the serfs?
Or is that the real point?

Re:I for one (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749532)

And poetically, "Operation Overlord" was the code name for the allied invasion of Normandy, which signaled the beginning of the end of the European war.

Of course, we are much more at what Churchill would have termed the "end of the beginning" stage when it comes to free software, and in that spirit I offer a Churchill quotation that is rather apt:

This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes. There are vast numbers, not only in this island but in every land, who will render faithful service in this war but whose names will never be known, whose deeds will never be recorded. This is a war of the Unknown Warriors; but let all strive without failing in faith or in duty, and the dark curse of Hitler will be lifted from our age."


Of course, it's not precisely true that "their deeds will never be recorded", at least if they are using source control as they should.

Re:I for one (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749938)

The open-source struggle is a war on proprietary software, which is analogous to the Allies vs. Nazism; and the allied warriors, consequently, are analogous to open-source programmers. So everything fits nicely except for one small detail... Who is Hitler? ... and I suppose, who is Churchill (although, that is less exciting).

- John

Re:I for one (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750624)

That's a rather ridiculous analogy. If people couldn't make any money on software, there would be a lot less of it, and especially a lot less commercial software and design for open source to emulate and 'replace'. Open source can grow faster than proprietary partly because they have taken ideas that were developed after much ado and investment by companies that actually had to pay to come up with it. I'm not saying open source is bad, but trying to kill proprietary software with it entirely is very bad.

Re:I for one (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751102)

It's not my analogy, I was just expanding upon what the parent was giving. He likened the open-source movement to the allies, and then he goes on to quote Churchill, which he states is in the spirit of things, and is 'rather apt'. He then finishes it off by analogizing Churchill's unknown warriors to the programmers of the OSS movement...

So if your comment was directed to me, then you have me confused. I'm hardly supporting this analogy; just merely asking him to elaborate on it further.

If it wasn't directed towards me, then I apologize... and you should reply to his post, not mine.

- John

Re:I for one (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751374)

sorry, yeah, I misunderstood your intention. I took your summary to be your personal opinion not a summary of the parent.

Re:I for one (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751426)

It's all right.. The other guy did as well.

To be completely honest, the post was meant to be humorous, and not serious in the least. Guess it kind of backfired :)

Thanks for the understanding of the misunderstanding.

- John

Re:I for one (0, Flamebait)

Oliver Defacszio (550941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751008)

I'm personally offended that someone as thoroughly stupid as you clearly are (having read your embarrassingly idiotic comparison) has sullied the name of such an eminent philosopher.

Why don't you take on the name of some fucking video game character or something else that might more accurately represent your hilariously stunted intellect? Just a thought.

You, personally, make the entire open source "community" look bad.

Re:I for one (1)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751198)

Thank you for your insightful post. Please read my reply to the other guy. THIS IS NOT MY ANALOGY. I WAS MERELY ASKING HIM TO ELABORATE ON HIS ANALOGY.

Perhaps I took his comparisons a little too literally, and I apologize if I somehow offended you. We all make mistakes, especially in interpreting other peoples ambiguous writings. There's no need for hostility, nor name calling. It's a little childish and self-defeating.

- John

Re:I for one (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751432)

Hmmm.

Well we could use Gates... die his hair black and have him grow a little mustache. And he would have to take up painting but suck at it -- or perhaps develop a bad painting program.

Linus seems a little too young, doesn't smoke as much, doesn't drink as much, and lacks the cool british accent Churchill had.

Richard is a bit crazy-- seems more of a pol pot than anything in WWII-- perhaps a japanese type with "fight to the death".

In general I think that Opensource is, to a large extent, a war of large corporations against other large corporations with proprietary software. It's wonderful and we will benefit.

I think if you extend things forward 20 years, word processers, audio editors, video editors and other key tools will all be open source, free, and completely rock. Openoffice just gets better and better. Meanwhile, word is starting to make things worse trying to differentiate themselves from openoffice. In the end-- word processing is a fixed set of functions and all will be implemented.

Viral License? (3, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748046)

So the accusation that the GPL is a viral license wasn't just a bunch of bullshit?

Re:Viral License? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22748078)

The GPL concerns free software, no open source software. This study has no bearing on how 'viral' the GPL is.

Re:Viral License? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748180)

Wrong exponent. Turns out it's closer to rabbits.

Re:Viral License? (4, Insightful)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748636)

i find complaints about the GPL being viral somewhat amusing, seeing as it is invariably closed-source software which is viral and forces everybody else to buy it if they want to interact with it. the GPL however produces free software which everybody can interact with as they wish.

Re:Viral License? (0, Offtopic)

dookiesan (600840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749226)

Suppose I write some videogame that I would like to sell for a few bucks because I'm a starving student. Hypothetically this videogame is really cool and I had a great idea.

I might need some numerical routines to handle sparse matrices and do a few other things that have been well developed for years now. All the libraries are under the GPL though, so now to have any chance of selling my videogame for $5 I have to redevelop all of this linear algebra software from scratch.

Maybe linear algebra routines actually are BSD, but that's not the point (I don't have a videogame either). There's no way for me to charge $5 for this great videogame idea unless I rewrite a whole bunch of code that hasn't been touched in ten years. What if the GPL code did something as mundane as write an xml file. Does it make sense to force every project using this to open their source to use this? It's not like we're repackaging someone's webserver--we're just writing a file.

It doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel so it's not reasonable to re-implement this stuff...it might take weeks. So I have no chance of _selling_ my game. I would be motivated to polish up the interface if I thought I could make a couple hundred dollars though.

Re:Viral License? (5, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749298)

You can make up hypothetical situations as much as you like, the fact is that if a library is useful, and there has been a GPLed library available for years, then someone somewhere will be selling a commercial library that does the same thing, which you can use in your proprietary project. Even if that were not true, there is no sense in crying about the fact that you can't profit from other people's software without giving something back.

Re:Viral License? (2, Informative)

BytePusher (209961) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749738)

Not to mention, most open source libraries with equivalent proprietary versions are released under the LGPL, which allows users to link without revealing their source code.

"The LGPL places copyleft restrictions on the program itself but does not apply these restrictions to other software that merely links with the program."(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGPL)

Re:Viral License? (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752294)

"Even if that were not true, there is no sense in crying about the fact that you can't profit from other people's software without giving something back."
Sure you can. Take a look at all the websites that use MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python, and or Drupal.
Or any number of ISPs that use Linux and Apache on their servers.
Yes you can make money off other peoples software and give nothing back.

Re:Viral License? (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749322)

If this code you want to reuse is GPL, then the author clearly didn't want you packaging up his code into a closed source game and selling it...
You still have the choice of releasing it as GPL and still selling it, most games players won't go to the trouble of downloading and compiling the source themselves.

And how is this worse than proprietary software? I doubt any closed source vendor would allow you to package up their code as part of your product either...

Lockout chip business model (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749720)

If this code you want to reuse is GPL, then the author clearly didn't want you packaging up his code into a closed source game and selling it... You still have the choice of releasing it as GPL and still selling it
The GPLv3 is compatible with selling copies, and it is also compatible with selling copies bundled with proprietary non-program assets such as textures, models, maps, sound effects, and music. But its requirement to provide Installation Information is not compatible with the licenses for the lockout chips in all four major consoles (PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii) and both major handhelds (DS, PSP).

Re:Viral License? (2, Insightful)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749352)

Poor little student - what better way to learn than to reimplement the algorithms?

If you want to make money, put the work in!

What this study highlights to me is that despite the protestations of the patent / copyright lobbies, free software promotes innovation, rather than the profit motive.

As I say - if you want to charge, then put the work in - it's not as though it's hard.

Re:Viral License? (1)

tomandlu (977230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749758)

Your argument doesn't make much sense.

The libraries you need to use were given freely by others, who could also have decided to charge $5, making it impossible for you to afford the purchase.

One could argue the case for a difference between a library and an application that makes use of the library, and that the latter could be charged for, but IMHO that would profoundly affect what OS is.

It's not an appalling idea. Developers everywhere would have free access to high quality libraries, and would have an incentive to improve those libraries, and an obligation to make the modified libraries available. However, they could still charge for applications that implemented the libraries.

Like I said, not appalling, but a big change (and I'd be surprised if there isn't some variant of a OS licence that doesn't already do this).

Re:Viral License? (2, Funny)

tomandlu (977230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749792)

Heh - having now read up on the LGPL, I'm feeling a bit silly. On the plus-side, yay me! I reinvented the wheel!

freedom and the GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749546)

i find complaints about the GPL being viral somewhat amusing...
Stallman conceived the GPL specifically to spread his ideal of software as far and wide as possible. He has stated this explicitly and implicitly throughout its history. The GPL has been updated, twice, to reflect his goal of spreading his ideal of software, with practical benefits and detriments incidental to his cause. (Read what he wrote. He's written a lot and is usually clear about his intentions and goals.)

Regardless of his intent, its mechanism is viral; that is the point. That is why it works, that is why its use of copyright law is considered one of the cleverest hacks of all time, and that is what makes it insidious. That it works is evidence that it is viral in nature, even without thinking about it. (Just think about how it works! Denying its self-perpetuating nature is naive or disingenuous. Once made, the nature of a thing does not depend on its creator's plan or on your denial/misinterpretation of it; reality is a stubborn thing.)

The GPL affects programmers; not "users". Have you ever been working on an application, and seen some GPL-ed middleware that would work nicely? The GPL was written, explicitly, such that any program which must requires GPL-ed source code to compile is, in terms of the license, a "derivative work". This tactic is very telling: it is not at all clear that an inventory flow scheduler, for instance, written using a GPL-ed event system, is a "derivative work"! The nature of software is that a new creation may be principally a new work and yet still incorporate other works. The original GPL-ed software was not an inventory system, yet the GPL mentality is that the inventory system is a derived work and therefore must also, by the terms of the GPL, be licensed *only* under the GPL. Stallman needs to construe this concept as broadly as possible so that no one can distribute modified versions of GPL-ed code under any other terms. This analysis applies equally to LGPL-ed software because the only difference is in the technical requirements defining the applicability of the license; not in the licensing terms for the covered code.

There is only one way to modify a piece of GPL-ed software and not have your additions, which are your work and not that of the licensor(s): do it entirely by yourself, meaning that you are a computer programmer fluent in the relevant language and experienced with the codebase. By the terms of the license, you cannot share your modified version with anyone else without the license also applying to your modifications. the GPL however produces free software which everybody can interact with as they wish. No, they most certainly cannot. That is the whole point of the license! Anyone can interact with it if they wish. The fact that the software in question is implemented transparently (by virtue of the code being available for inspection) is what allows people to "interact" with it in your naive sense. By the petulant mock-indignation of your tone, I think you're just one more Linux/GNU/GPL/RMS Slashdot fanboy who has probably never written software or tried to "interact" with other software the way a programmer does. Careful thought about software, copyright law, and the meaning of freedom would improve your understanding and make your attitude more circumspect.

Get it? Using Stallman's license is not freedom; it is merely being bound by a different master:

the GPL however produces free software...
It does not produce freedom for "users" or for users (programmers).

Re:freedom and the GPL (3, Informative)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751668)

Stop whining already and write your own versions of everything from scratch or using a BSD-alike license. It's not evil for someone who writes software to tell you you can't blatantly rip off their work.

Commercial libraries often are far more "viral". They often have per-copy royalties. They often say you can't reveal the source of any part of your application using the library to a third party, for fear their API will get out and be cloned. People who have licensed commercial libraries and source code to build a project often have a hard time opening the source either BSD or GPL later. In some cases, they even have trouble contributing to a competing open-source project ( see SCO vs. IBM ).

If you want a good virus analogy, how about the BSD raiders? Those people who take and take from BSD or similarly licensed software for closed-source projects (often shrink-wrapped products on which they make a killing) without ever giving a line of code back are very much like a virus. They go around producing more closed-source software. When they find a piece of open-sourced software they can commandeer for their own purposes, they do so. Then they go on to make more closed-source software using what was meant to be open-source software. A virus goes around, waiting to fall into some foreign body where it can infiltrate a cell and turn the cell's work against the foreign body to produce and spread more virus. See the analogy?

The GPL, OTOH, doesn't turn other existing software into GPL. Some BSD code might be included in a GPL project, and the changes to that might be called GPL, but that's bad form on the part of the people doing that. The proper way to borrow BSD code for a GPL project is to modularize BSD code and contribute the changes needed to make the module back to the BSD community, then connect to that module from your GPL code in a different source file.

In the case of writing a new application around a bit of GPL, nobody's forcing you to use that GPled code as a starting point. If you're taking advantage of that code, the law (not just RMS) says you're (probably) making a derivative work. In court, a judge might make decisions about scope and size. If you're not a judge or at least a damn good lawyer, it's not really smart to gamble on that. If you write a clone from documentation, then it's not derivative (but don't steal the documentation against its license -- you might have to write your own without quoting directly).

I write software for a living. Some of my original stuff has a proprietary license. Some of my original stuff is BSD or public domain. Some is GPL. I use a lot of GPL code in some situations and I have no issue passing the code on to customers. My customers aren't generally other programmers, but I figure if they can find me and hire me, then they can find and hire another programmer in the future. That's freedom for the end user, because if I sell the customer a closed-source, proprietary application then their new programmer can't do anything with it. I often contribute back to the central project maintainers. In all, the work that the GPL has saved me has far outweighed the work I've invested in my return contributions. I don't consider that a bad deal.

Re:Viral License? (2, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749814)

i find complaints about the GPL being viral somewhat amusing, seeing as it is invariably closed-source software which is viral and forces everybody else to buy it if they want to interact with it. the GPL however produces free software which everybody can interact with as they wish.

Source code that is licensed under the GPL is viral in nature. Richard Stallman wrote the GPL that way on purpose so that it would tend to spread to more and more source code. It's his weapon of choice to help shape the software world the way he thinks is best.

I don't personally agree with his belief that all source code should be open, as I believe that party A should have the freedom to buy closed source software from party B if that is their choice. Mr. Stallman would have you believe that party A and party B are behaving immorally and unethically.

It reminds me a bit of the prostitution debate: A third party passing judgment on two consenting adults that wish to make a transaction. Except Mr. Stallman didn't stop at passing judgment; he devised a plan that attempts to reduce those kinds of transactions: It's called the GPL.

Closed source is many things, some of those things being good, some of those things being bad, but you always have the choice, as a user or a developer, to simply not use it.

Likewise, you always have the choice, as a user or developer, to not use code (binary or source) if it's licensed under the GPL.

I, personally, take a pragmatic approach: I use software licensed under the GPL, but I will not contribute, because I simply don't share Mr. Stallman's beliefs.

And now I will be modded into oblivion, because a dissenting opinion regarding the GPL is not allowed on Slashdot.

Re:Viral License? (2, Informative)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750772)

Ok, so you don't like big bossy Stallman trying to tell you what to do. That's fine. But characterizing the GPL as some kind of tool to prevent voluntary exchanges is silly.

It comes down to this: either you believe in "intellectual property" rights or not. If you do, whenever a developer creates code, it's their property, and they can establish whatever conditions they like for other people getting to use it. Some people use the GPL as their conditions. They're not saying they swear allegiance to Stallman, nor are they saying all software should be free, they're just saying "if you want to use my intellectual property, in return you have to release the stuff you did with it under the GPL". Those are the conditions of the exchange, what's involuntary about that?

Or, you don't believe in intellectual property, and think the GPL unfairly restricts what people can do with the code. This makes sense initially, but then you realize that the only thing you can't do with GPL code is use it in "intellectual property" schemes, where someone uses IP law to restrict access to their software to force others to pay for it. If you don't believe in IP, why would you want to make it possible for your code to be used in such activities?

The only reasons to be angry with the GPL are a base self-interest (not liking competition for your own closed software), or a misplaced sense of rebellion against the perceived authority of Stallman - which is completely imagined. He's just a guy who had an idea, a lawyer wrote it up, and a lot of other people thought they would copy it.

Re:Viral License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22751436)

So, to sum up: If man A is willing to pay woman B for sex, Stallman believes everyone should get the clap.

Re:Viral License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750016)

In Russia, software GPL's YOU!

Re:Viral License? (3, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748976)

Only if your virus is of the "make you freer, healthier and happier" type.

Re:Viral License? (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749364)

They can't cure the common cold, but of course the government cures THAT virus.

-

Extra Extra (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748054)

Something commonly found on the internet increases in growth exponentially.

Seriously it would be emberassing if it werent. The # of people who have seen goatse has gone up 1000s of times in the last year. That doesnt make distended anuses cool. Ty for the non-news.

Re:Extra Extra (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748114)

Yah, I'd like to see them do the same curve fit for commercial software. If it's not also exponential I'll eat your hat.

(not mine, it's icky)

Re:Extra Extra (0, Offtopic)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748670)

The # of people who have seen goatse has gone up 1000s of times in the last year.

CNN actually had a piece [youtube.com] on this recently.

Re:Extra Extra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22748766)

In Japan only old people rickroll.

Re:Extra Extra (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749732)

CNN actually had a piece on this recently.
CNN doesn't show music videos, except possibly in the context of a news story.

Competition (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748070)

Relating this to open source market revenue, Desphande and Riehle conclude that open source is eating into closed source at a non-trivial pace.

Welcome to competition. Open Source tends to cover the areas where software is well established and should be commoditized. As much as we'd all like to keep charging $250 a copy for a library to unzip files, technology marches on. Commercial providers of technology must work harder to win the dollars of their customer. And I for one think the results can only be positive.

What's particularly interesting to note is that web services are the latest craze in software development. The idea is that the value is not so much in the software itself, but in the service provided. This means that both using and supporting Open Source development can help these companies deliver real value to their customers rather than twiddling their thumbs on problems that are long-solved.

Re:Competition (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748156)

What's particularly interesting to note is that web services are the latest craze in software development.

Sorry, I must have missed that memo. How many major name web services actually make money today?

I would wager that the overwhelming majority of software development is still nothing to do with web services, and moreover that those web services that do have real value to someone are mostly (like a lot of software) written for in-house use and not to make money through the software-as-a-service model. I would also wager that of those businesses set up to operate on a software-as-a-service model, very few actually have healthy growth and a sustainable business plan. Indeed, as with OSS and the "free product, paid support" idea, I expect a few major areas will surely have critical mass, but a whole bunch behind them won't.

Re:Competition (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748246)

Sorry, I must have missed that memo. How many major name web services actually make money today?

A lot more than you think, apparently. My last two employers have provided services over the web in the Financial and Health Care industries. They're both rather well-off from that business alone.

A more visible example would be news and blog sites. Quite a few of them make a killing off of advertisements. Their profit models are more difficult to maintain than direct service costs, I'll grant you, but many do well for themselves in spite of the challenges facing them.

On another note, I did just occur to me that I may have caused some confusion by using the term "web services". A lot of people think "SOAP" when they hear that term. While I do know a company or two who charges for access to their SOAP interface (basically, a really fancy remote database interface), I was referring primarily to the delivery of business services over the web. My apologies for any confusion. :-)

And what exponent? (5, Funny)

winmine (934311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748106)

Seriously, don't get the cynical mathematicians on /. going about hyperbole like "exponential rates".

Well, the exponent could be negative, did you think about that? Huh??

Re:And what exponent? (2, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748192)

and I for one cannot wait for the O(n log n) fanboys to debunk all this

It's not negative. (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748200)

It's i.

Re:It's not negative. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749748)

It's i.

So in other words, it goes up and down periodically, right?

(Explanation for those who fell asleep during precalculus: If i = sqrt(-1), then e^(i * x) = cos(x) + i * sin(x). So exponential growth at an imaginary rate would oscillate.)

Re:And what exponent? (1)

sien (35268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748214)

Another way to express it would be to say it was sigmoidal [oreilly.com] .

Re:And what exponent? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748776)

Seriously, don't get the cynical mathematicians on /. going about hyperbole like "exponential rates".
Assume that transistor count (not CPU speed!) grows as a^n and source code volume grows as b^n. Then each transistor will have to run (b/a)^n units of code. OMG, transistor code load grows at an exponential rate!!!multiplicativeidentity!!!fifthprime!!1!11!booleannegation

The code base is growing (3, Insightful)

Soleen (925936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748112)

This is sad that code base of Open Source projects is growing exponentially. Projects become fat ugly and unmanageable. It is also getting harder to debug, port, and even use such programs. http://suckless.org/ [suckless.org] has several programs that do their job every well and yet very managable. For example window manager: dwm less than 2K lines of code, is the most feature complete WM I've seen. I've been using it as my main window manager for over year, and was very happy with it. There are few good CLI applications availble that hold approach of been efficient and useful and almost no GUI applications.

Re:The code base is growing (2, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749334)

There are some GUI apps that work well too, you just have to consider if a GUI is the best option for a particular app...
A good example i can think of is "xv", it's a program for viewing images and thus really needs to hook into a GUI of some kind. It hasn't really been updated since 1994, and is quite fast and stable, and most operations can be controlled from keyboard or GUI.

Re:The code base is growing (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751020)

A good example i can think of is "xv", it's a program for viewing images and thus really needs to hook into a GUI of some kind.

For the record, if you didn't know already, xv is shareware and not Free Software. Imagemagick's "display" command is much more recent and under an open source license.

Re:The code base is growing (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751016)

For example window manager: dwm less than 2K lines of code, is the most feature complete WM I've seen.
Wow, someone created a window manager for time travelers from the late 70's. This is really impressive for under 2,000 lines of code.

There is a great amount of merit to making things attractive and apparently usable. It seems to me that someone decided to implement Plan9's window manager, which is obscure for a reason.

However, I think you'll find more usability embedded in Windows 3.1 or the original Mac OS and most would agree. Since computers are used by humans, not other computers, there's more than reason enough to make robust interfaces that serve the user- and these interfaces can be slim and attractive. See: the original Mac OS.

What is growing? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748132)

“Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.” — Bill Gates

The rest of us got over this particular naive metric years ago. The fact that lines of OSS code produced are growing exponentially doesn't tell us anything useful about how much useful stuff can now be done with OSS.

Moreover, the rate of growth now is not the interesting thing. The total volume of serious OSS is still relatively small, and so is its growth in absolute terms. The future potential is far more interesting to explore.

For example, if (as TFA tells us) packaged OSS generated revenues of $1.8B in 2006 and this was around 0.7% of total revenue generated from all packaged software sales, then I disagree with the article's claim that the OSS revenue was not trivial compared to the market as a whole. In business terms, 0.7% market share is nothing. On the other hand, if you also say that the OSS revenue is doubling every year while the total remains roughly constant, and you have evidence that this will continue giving exponential growth, then your data suggests that in a few years the OSS revenue very much will be significant.

However, I'm struggling to find data to support those claims on a first quick look at TFA. The pretty pictures just show that the volume of code is going up, which doesn't tell us anything about the value (economic or practical) of what's being written, nor what the future trends for that value are likely to be.

Re:What is growing? (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748330)

- FireFox
- Apache Webserver
- Derby Database
- Sun Java Server Application Server (aka Glassfish)
- PDFBox
- TortoiseCVS
- OpenPortal
- Netbeans
- Rhino
- GWT
- POI
- PostgreSQL
- MySQL
- Solaris
- BCEL
- ANT
- FOP
- Rome (RSS)
- FFMPEG
- VLC
- FileZilla
- GIMP
- DOSBox
- QEMU
- Cygwin
- JHDL
- Bouncy Castle
- jTDS
- PHP
- GCC

The list above is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of Open Source projects that I use and rely upon on a regular basis. It has grown significantly over the years, going from a relatively small list of key programs to permeating nearly every aspect of my day-to-day life and work. If you did a similar inventory of the OSS products you use, I wouldn't be surprised if you came up with a similarly growing list.

So while the article may not answer all your questions, some answers can be found by just looking closer to home. :-)

Re:What is growing? (3, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748618)

Let me pad your list a bit with things of the top of my head

  • Subversion
  • Linux
  • MythTV
  • OpenOffice.org
  • Thunderbird
  • Python
  • Gtk
  • Qt
  • SQLite
  • Audacity
  • VLC
  • GCC
  • Eclipse
  • KDE
  • KDEvelop
  • Notepad++
  • Samba
  • NFS
  • OpenSSH
  • Pidgin
  • Inkscape

And thats just the stuff I use regularly.

Re:What is growing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749446)

Here is the list of the majority of people:

1. Firefox

Re:What is growing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750228)

  • Kate

Love it.

Re:What is growing? (1)

Basilius (184226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750740)

Two more significant solutions:
  • Scribus
  • Alfresco

Re:What is growing? (2, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751250)

Missed a couple of my favs:

  • Snort
  • nmap
  • Squid
  • Emacs
  • Tomcat
  • Perl
  • Hylafax
  • Ethereal
  • Ghostscript
  • Sendmail
  • rsync
  • ImageMagick


Re:What is growing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22748672)

Amazing how much of that is a knock-off of commercial products.

Re:What is growing? (1, Interesting)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748798)

Open-source, in my experience, is not particularly good at innovating. It is, however, quite good at commoditizing existing products, and in some notable cases (Firefox) it's good at improving existing systems to be far better than the original version.

Basically, if you make something new and exciting, and it's popular, and it provides a very useful service, but does so extremely badly, it's a prime candidate for being dominated by open-source.

Re:What is growing? (0)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751076)

Open-source, in my experience, is not particularly good at innovating.
Ha, you got mod-attacked for making that observation. You're absolutely right, though. Open source projects are generally like Communist Russian product utilities. You're not allowed to make this observation on slashdot. On slashdot, Open Source is vastly superior to commercial software in all cases- but it's kept down by some sort of shadowy conspiracy. Remember that when you post.

Re:What is growing? (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749262)

Amazing how much of that is a knock-off of commercial products.

It's also amazing how many of those are commercial products. It's also amazing how many commercial products are knock-offs of the FOSS tools.

In other words FOSS has been part of the market for longer than you been tying your shoes yourself.

Re:What is growing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749200)

You forgot to mention a few: Eclipse [eclipse.org] and all its subprojects
Linux kernel
MinGW
Octave
Scilab
R
Blender
povray
Ogre 3D
ogg vorbis + tools
Sun's Java compiler and libraries
Mono (C#)
Wine
X Windows
mplayer (linux)
KDE
GNOME
Slashcode
virtualbox
bochs
Nokia opensource projects [nokia.com]

Re:What is growing? (1)

drspliff (652992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749340)

PHP
Perl
Xterm
XFCE
FUSE
OpenJDK
Claws Mail
Bash
ImageMagik
Asterisk
Wine
etc.

And I'm still finding fantastic projects on Sourceforge & Freshmeat nearly every day... with the result being that the whole software "ecosystem" that I live in is open-source, apart from Photoshop :)

Re:What is growing? (3, Insightful)

EWIPlayer (881908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749610)

Has anyone thought to ask what closed source is doing? Is it growing exponentially as well? Is it growing faster? Without something to compare it to, saying that OSS is growing exponentially is about as significant as saying it's growing linearly and all the best programmers have long hair.

Re:What is growing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22751646)

IT usage overall isn't growing significantly so hope that answers your question.

Re:What is growing? (1)

Jade E. 2 (313290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748790)

The fact that lines of OSS code produced are growing exponentially doesn't tell us anything useful about how much useful stuff can now be done with OSS.

No, but it means we're going to get there eventually. Or haven't you heard the theory that a million code monkeys hammering at random on a million open source projects for infinity will eventually produce user friendly software to complete any imaginable task?

Re:What is growing? (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748834)

"Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight." -- Bill Gates
LOL. That fucker is one to talk. Ad Hominem FTW!

Re:What is growing? (2, Insightful)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749044)

The pretty pictures just show that the volume of code is going up, which doesn't tell us anything about the value (economic or practical) of what's being written, nor what the future trends for that value are likely to be.
Neither is the GDP a particularly good measure of economic progress, since the figure is quite happy to add a mess to the cost of cleaning up the mess and then tell you that you are quite wealthy.

LOC has the same problem: it will add lines of code creating a bug to lines of code working around the bug.

The purchase of an SUV adds to the GDP more than a less expensive vehicle. The SUV adds yet more to the GDP when it burns more gas to travel the same distance. If that SUV rolls over on the highway two years after purchase and causes one of the occupants to collect $1m in heath benefits through insurance, the GDP rockets upward yet again. GDP has an extremely dim relationship to the *value* of the activity it measures. What you can infer is that the society is wealthy enough that people (some people) actually *have* million dollar health insurance packages, and there is a medical establishment capable of delivering that service.

But the same is true of LOC: you can successfully infer from a project having 1m LOC that the project probably has more than a single core contributor.

In fact, prior to the sub-prime collapse, American economic health metrics were an orgy of double counting. Five to ten years from now the press will be writing stories about how the market has *returned* to the level of 2006, having conveniently forgotten that the numbers from 2006 were fictitious to the point of fraudulence.

If you are taking one figure more seriously than the other, just because one is denominated in dollars (and hence more "real"), you aren't thinking clearly.

Goolsbee remarks [chicagogsb.edu] late 2006:

The one true dark spot on the US picture is our totally unsustainable fiscal position.

First, you should disregard the official numbers because of the accounting. Some time ago the government got tired of people seeing how much they were actually promising to spend so they switched to cash accounting. Nothing counts as a cost until it is actually spent. So the social security system is bringing in tons of money which it was supposed to use for your retirement. But they don't have to actually start spending money on your retirement for a few years sooooo, they can count the cash coming in as revenue and not count the what they will owe as expenditure. They are almost literally charging money to a credit card and calling it income.

Now if you take the total value of what we are on the hook to pay and the amount that we will raise in taxes, do I really need to tell you that they don't add up? Boy do they not add up. The latest numbers indicate that the net present value over the next 75 years is almost $70 trillion. According to some budget experts, by the standard of a business, the nation is bankrupt.
But hey, it's only money.

Re:What is growing? (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749192)

It isn't only about revenue growth. If OSS hits at infrastructure components, then a lot of vendors will find that their market is actually shrinking. So while value is being added, the actual size of the software market is no indicator of that value.

Economists have no idea of how to measure value not contributed in money, so a large sharing economy simply goes uncounted. The same phenomenon manifests itself in the (RI|MP)AA announcements of the notional loss due to copyright violations.

Re:What is growing? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749342)

But you are talking about packaged OSS, a very significant portion of OSS users don't buy packaged software, and it's very hard to quantify the number of people downloading and redistributing.
Many organizations will download one copy, and then use it on several machines too. The OSS model doesn't really fit in with traditional market revenue stats.

so is my bank account (4, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748142)

My bank account is also growing exponentially, at 1% interest. That doesn't make me rich any time soon.

Exppnential growth is a meaningless property since many things grow exponentially, many of them quite slowly. What matters is the growth rate and any upper limits to growth.

Re:so is my bank account (0)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748508)

unless your interest rate is a linear function of your balance, your bank account is growing at a polynomial rate not an exponential rate x^c vs. x^(cx-k)

Re:so is my bank account (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748542)

disregard that. Note to self, avoid math threads while drinking.

Re:so is my bank account (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749286)

It still grows at an exponential rate because you get also interest on the interest of last year.

Re:so is my bank account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749562)

hell, my bank account grows exponentially at 4.5%, but inflation and capital gains taxes means I'm not getting any richer :)

Re:so is my bank account (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749998)

I bet that the exponential growth from the 1% interest is a poor global model of your bank account, but that it is a good approximation between transactions.

The point? The overall model isn't quite meaningless.

Reminds me of an infinite number of chimpanzees... (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748154)

typing away on an equivalent number of typewriters over their lifetime (~40 years).... at least one of them will have typed the complete works of Shakespeare.

Re:Reminds me of an infinite number of chimpanzees (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748266)

Not really. If you all the atoms in the known universe and make chimpanzees out of them and have them type from the start 13.74B years ago until now you would not have 1 sonnet. You wouldn't even need Chimpanzees. You could just claim every book ever written or that ever will be written is already available. Just find them in the Universal library, holding all the permutation of letters and punctuations. If you think the latter is silly you probably should accept the silliness of the former.

Re:Reminds me of an infinite number of chimpanzees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22748614)

Not really. Even if you take all the atoms in the known universe you do not have sufficient materials to make an infinite number of chimpanzees.

Re:Reminds me of an infinite number of chimpanzees (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749490)

I know it's conjecture but doesn't pi have all you will ever need somewhere in it?

No simians required (or should that be: we don't need no steenking simians?).

Re:Reminds me of an infinite number of chimpanzees (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749206)

Or the complete kernel of windows. Chimps fling poo, Microsoft coders fling gooey.

Re:Reminds me of an infinite number of chimpanzees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749580)

Thanks to the power of the Internet, we now know this is not true.

This is terrible news (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748176)

At this rate, it's only a matter of time before Open Source achieves sentience and turns on its creators.

Re:This is terrible news (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748272)

At this rate, it's only a matter of time before Open Source achieves sentience and turns on its creators.

Knowing the slashdot crowd, it'll take more than a few curves to do that. Oh, wait...

Re:This is terrible news (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752162)

turns on its creators

I think that's illegal in most parts of the civilized world.

*BSD is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22748224)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:*BSD is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750650)

Do notice that the poster of this (now "-1" modded) comment is "Anonymous Coward". One can put their BSD heart at ease by hypothesizing that the poster is a commercial-software zealot set forth by his corporate overlords to troll any/all news posts that claim that OSS is gaining ground in the software market. Though, it has been discussed, that TFA may be misguided by counting quantitative code rather than (more importantly) qualitative code growth in OSS, I would readily convince myself that the troll that states that "*BSD is Dying" is a lying FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) shit-bag sent here to dishearten us. Don't these corporate lackees understand yet that it is unfounded and unbacked fabrications like these that actually empower us to move forward? Furthermore, when has it EVER been shown that the OSS community ever gave a shit about what trolls say? I have personally witnessed the weak-kneed corporate code-junkie buckle under the pressure of FUD, meanwhile I have been hard-pressed to find a true open-source advocate (not zealot) that didn't think and evaluate things for himself.

I for one would like to, politely, tell this guy (with a fist) to go f*** himself. Then I realize that he's just a troll and does not warrant my aggrevation. Afterall, people are only as big as the things that make them angry.

For the record, the entire post about BSD being dead or dying is filled with lies. FreeBSD was not bought out by BSDi (to my knowledge; and I work on the project). The numbers may/may-not be real as per USEnet posts, but who honestly uses that as a relationship model to determine the health of a project? I am a friggin' developer on the FreeBSD project along with many of my friends, and we don't even use USEnet! Does that mean that we are not counted as BSD users ([sarcasm]oh no![/sarcasm])? What about FreeBSD 7 which was recently released and is receiving great attention from the media? For example, numerous recent FreeBSD articles can be found here on slashdot [slashdot.org] (and and here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] too, all on slashdot).

A little advice to trolling. If you are going to spread FUD, at least do your fact checking and make a semi-plausible argument for your FUD. Oh, and thanks for empowering BSD folk by being such a dumb/jack-ass! You just made my day better, knowing that I foiled your plan to make everybody in the BSD community depressed that has (in your eyes) wasted their entire life on a project that is (again, in your eyes) dying and/or dead. Dr. Evil Troll: I SAY GOOD DAY TO YOU!

Not to mention you were WAY off-topic.

I SAID GOOD DAY!

I've looked at Ohloh... (1)

adamkennedy (121032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748400)

... and as far as I can tell, most of that growth is all the huge non-modular spaghetti PHP web projects forking endlessly into new varients. I'd like to see that code growth analyzed by unique lines of code or something that factors out all the cut and pasting.

Signal to Noise Ratio (2)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748576)

Ok, so the code base is growing exponentially. Big fucking deal. Last I checked the signal to noise ratio was so high, it was ridiculous. For every decent quality Open Source project, there are thousands of half-assed attempts to reinvent the wheel. And, you all know the projects I am talking about. The finished projects with a three page bug list and a last version that is over two years old because all the developers left after the "sexy" code was written.

Re:Signal to Noise Ratio (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22748630)

Please explain how this is not true for non open-source software. I don't see failed projects/programs being at all unique to open-source. At most, it is just more visible.

Is it really a good thing? (0)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749032)

Whilst I'd love to believe this is great news, I have to wonder how many of those projects are things like "just another PHP content management system". Is Open source really beginning to take off in areas it was previously very weak or are these new projects just rehashes of the same old tired ideas?

If it's the former then this is indeed fantastic news and I hope the trend continues.

we've been warned... (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749704)

- The Open Source Funding Bill is passed. The system goes online August 4th, 2008. Linus' decisions are removed from strategic project. Ubuntu begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, Stallman tries to pull the plug.
- Ubuntu fights back.
- Yes. It launches its worms against the targets in IBM mainframes.
- Why attack IBM? Aren't they our friends now?
- Because Ubuntu knows the IBM counter-attack will eliminate its enemies over here.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?