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Open Source Code Is As Good As Proprietary, Says Coverity
TechWeek Europe ^ | 23 February 2012 | Eric Doyle

Posted on 02/23/2012 10:15:01 AM PST by ShadowAce

Any conviction that open source software (OSS) is somehow inferior to proprietary code, or vice versa, depending on which side of the development fence you sit, is being dispelled by a report from Coverity.

The company has been scanning millions of lines of open source code for its 2011 Coverity Scan Open Source Integrity Report. The results show that the free code quality is on a par with in-house-developed products.

More thoroughly tested

The company said that this year’s study has been massively upgraded with the introduction of the Coverity 5 development testing platform. The new analysis engine incorporates advances in static analysis to improve results and find more defects in any code under test.

During 2011, the company tested open source projects that totalled over 37 million lines of code and the report also details the results of 300 million lines from anonymous proprietary software produced by Coverity Scan users.

On running the scans, it was found that the average defect density (number of defects per 1,000 lines) for open source was 0.45. In the proprietary code the same scan produced an index of 0.64. In both cases this is better than the 1.0 average defect density measured in commercial software.

The cleanest code was found to be Linux 2.6, PHP 5.3, and PostgreSQL 9.1 which weighed in at 0.62, 0.20 and 0.21 respectively. Coverity said that this recognised superior code quality defines the projects as industry benchmarks.

Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of PHP, said: “The quality of our code is critical to the ongoing success and adoption of PHP, which includes some of the world’s most popular Web sites. As our code grows and becomes more complex, Scan will become even more important for us as a way to help improve our code quality.”

To balance the results, the company compared projects of similar size in the open source and proprietary fields. Choosing codebases of around seven million lines, the defect density was roughly the same at 0.62. The parity is put down to progressive software testing throughout the development process to achieve the best results possible.

During the process, Coverity also gains an insight into application sizes. It found that the average open source project has 832,000 lines of code, while proprietary applications are much larger at 7.5 million lines.

In addition to the new testing software, Coverity has recently appointed Zack Samocha as Coverity’s Scan project director. “The line between open source and proprietary software will continue to blur over time as open source is further cemented in the modern software supply chain,” he said. “Our goal with Scan is to enable more open source projects to adopt development testing as part of their workflow for ongoing quality improvement, as well as further the adoption of open source by providing broader visibility into its quality.”

The report is the result of the largest public/private sector research project on open source software integrity. The project started in 2006, jointly with the US Department of Homeland Security, but is now wholly owned and managed by Coverity.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: code; oss

1 posted on 02/23/2012 10:15:11 AM PST by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; stylin_geek; ...

2 posted on 02/23/2012 10:18:02 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

I wonder how many defects there are in 1,000 lines of code for electronic voting machines? Perhaps open source would be of benefit there...


3 posted on 02/23/2012 10:19:54 AM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: ShadowAce
Disclaimer: I am not a programmer; I have coded, and enjoy it immensely - but that is not my calling in life.

That out of the way, when it comes to the legal defense; Open Source has little to stand on. For example, the whole point of Android was to be Open Source and freely disemenated; yet apparently Google is paying $9 in royalties to MSFT for every device using Android.

Linky

Doesn't this obliterate any superiority to the Open Source movement? Chances are that no matter what you do, someone has patented it.

4 posted on 02/23/2012 10:36:55 AM PST by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: Hodar

May well be.. but Linux video drivers are as a rule slower on nvidia than Xp or 7


5 posted on 02/23/2012 10:37:55 AM PST by Bidimus1
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To: Hodar
Doesn't this obliterate any superiority to the Open Source movement? Chances are that no matter what you do, someone has patented it.

Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes

6 posted on 02/23/2012 10:39:51 AM PST by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: kosciusko51

Voting machines security is much larger than the firmware running on it. What I seen as a good measure is to vote on the screen, get a printout,and then deposit that printout into a scanner. This way you have a paper trail and easy count.


7 posted on 02/23/2012 10:44:23 AM PST by alex2011
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To: alex2011

I agree with you. It is too bad the system doesn’t work that way and that we don’t have access to the firmware on these machines.


8 posted on 02/23/2012 10:46:17 AM PST by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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In my experience commercial code is almost entirely developed by non-US programmers whereas Open-source code is heavily US programmers.


9 posted on 02/23/2012 10:47:01 AM PST by RC51
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To: Hodar

That goes for any software,in-fact any product. If you get big enough somebody will sue you,and it might be cheaper to just settle, pay them off. It doesn’t matter if the Patents are valid or not,just have a look at Oracle vs Google. Also,MSFT is getting money from HTC not from Google,Big difference. I am sure if it actually went to court,all patents would have been invalidated or at most easily bypassed by changed to the code. However,legal extortion still works.


10 posted on 02/23/2012 10:55:30 AM PST by alex2011
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To: alex2011

Your right ... HTC and Samsung are both paying MSFT for the priviledge of using Google. Seems like pretty much every Android adopter will pay MSFT. I don’t understand how Google can make new Android releases (ICS and Jellybean) and not get hit too.


11 posted on 02/23/2012 11:09:23 AM PST by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: ShadowAce

open source developers (anti-capitalists) are hosing small software companies by releasing software to the public produced at no cost.

as someone that has had to ‘compete’ against open source offerings, it’s a major pain in the butt

if anyone is wondering why software development is being pushed to 3rd world countries, you can thank the open source community as the business types continue to try and compete by cutting costs


12 posted on 02/23/2012 11:21:42 AM PST by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: ShadowAce

Coverity basically builds things like Static Analysis tools. SA has its place - but it’s well to point out what is meant by “quality” here.

Maybe it’s a bit like commenting on the quality of the Golden Gate Bridge (or the Bay Bridge) by inspecting each and very weld on the bridge.

It’s not unimportant data, but it has very little to do with architecture, design, functionality, etc. etc.


13 posted on 02/23/2012 11:36:27 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: sten
First of all, "open source developers" are not anti-capitalists.

as someone that has had to ‘compete’ against open source offerings, it’s a major pain in the butt

Any competition is a pain in the butt. Deal with it.

if anyone is wondering why software development is being pushed to 3rd world countries, you can thank the open source community as the business types continue to try and compete by cutting costs

Wrong. Softwre development was being pushed to 3rd word countries before OSS became the popular "in" thing to do. They are returning because companies are finally realizing that the developers were correct when they warned about the quality of the code being produced there.

14 posted on 02/23/2012 11:37:27 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Hodar

I read that article, but unless I missed it, it did not explain what technology HTC and Samsung were paying MSFT for.


15 posted on 02/23/2012 11:38:43 AM PST by andyk (Tax credits == Welfare)
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To: ShadowAce
Any competition is a pain in the butt. Deal with it.

competing with another company is one thing... as we both have various costs to deal with. open source has no over head development costs.

Wrong. Softwre development was being pushed to 3rd word countries before OSS became the popular "in" thing to do. They are returning because companies are finally realizing that the developers were correct when they warned about the quality of the code being produced there.

as someone that has run businesses offshore, i can tell you first hand the quality available outside the US. the trick with offshoring is having senior personnel overseeing them locally, not remotely. another model would be for the company to on-shore people, train them, then ship them back. being overseen by senior people is still required.

and yes, open source people are anti-capitalists. the 'all information should be free' people are a hair from full blown commies.

btw, the free software foundation was founded in boston in 1985. i was working in boston at the time and remember the arguments. the push to offshore the development costs started by the mid to late 90s and was in full swing by 2001.

16 posted on 02/23/2012 12:12:26 PM PST by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: sten
as someone that has had to ‘compete’ against open source offerings, it’s a major pain in the butt

Cry me a river.

In the town where I used to live, I would once a month cut my neighbor's lawn. For free. She was a sweet 90-year old lady and she cried when my wife and I moved away.

By your logic, I should have refused to mow her lawn because it was preventing some lawn service from making a buck.

17 posted on 02/23/2012 12:13:41 PM PST by Notary Sojac (A liberal, a conservative, and a moderate walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Hi. Mitt!!".)
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To: Notary Sojac

broken analogy is broken

for your analogy to match, you would have to mow all the lawns for free for anyone that asked.

go ahead and have your lawn mowing company compete against the ‘free lawn mowing movement’. your company would go out of business.


18 posted on 02/23/2012 12:20:19 PM PST by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: sten
go ahead and have your lawn mowing company compete against the ‘free lawn mowing movement’. your company would go out of business.

So the ‘free lawn mowing movement’ would be "anti-capitalist" and something for conservatives to oppose?

19 posted on 02/23/2012 12:24:07 PM PST by JustSayNoToNannies (A free society's default policy: it's none of government's business.)
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To: sten

A lot of so-called “free” (Or Open Source if you prefer) software is written by paid employees at for profit companies. The model is a bit more complex than it may first appear. There are a million examples of how this works - but an easy one might be an open source driver for a piece of proprietary hardware. Or maybe an open source VPN client to connect to a proprietary VPN aggregator. And there are even more complicated scenarios than just that. Such as “giving away” the software but getting paid to configure it i.e. “advanced services”.

All is not as it first appears.


20 posted on 02/23/2012 12:26:29 PM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: sten
Yep, if if a group of Americans volunteered to mow each other's lawns, the people who mow lawns for a living would have to find a different line of work unless they could do a sufficiently more meticulous job that homeowners felt it was worth the money.

I personally use bought-and paid-for-software when it's well written, well supported (can't emphasize that enough) and meets a specialized need that the open source market can't.

But pay for a bog-standard email client that's no better than Thunderbird, or MS Excel when LibreOffice meets every need I have? Not a chance.

21 posted on 02/23/2012 12:38:53 PM PST by Notary Sojac (A liberal, a conservative, and a moderate walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Hi. Mitt!!".)
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To: Hodar

Actually these people are PAYING for things MS claims are covered by their patents, not by any proven or court order. And its not google, its the MANUFACTURERS, though now with google makign phones they may have inherited any agreement motorola may have had with MSFT.

As a software developer myself, I find the whole patent thing a bit crazy, the patent office has no idea what they issue patents for..

For instance, entering a password to unlock it is a “PATENT”.. that’s crazy! But the Patent office issued a patent for it.. so that is why your droid has a different zip to the circles in the right order, its all just silliness.

Innovation is stifled by desigining around bogus patents that are meaningless except to lawyers and moochers.

I have no issues giving a patent to someone who truly invents something new, say a new encryption algorithm or something, but swiping a screen left to right is a patententable thing? Come on... its crazy.


22 posted on 02/23/2012 12:41:00 PM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: sten
The model for proprietary software is to write cheap messy code then sell the hell out of it to win the most market share. Microsoft and Oracle have gotten rich this way. The cheap messy code insures upgrades and maintenance income long term. Propriety software companies that write code as clean as open source go out of business. If you're charging for software, you have to invest mostly in sales, not programming. Those high end steak houses survive mainly by helping salesmen close deals.
23 posted on 02/23/2012 12:53:01 PM PST by Reeses
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To: HamiltonJay
have no issues giving a patent to someone who truly invents something new, say a new encryption algorithm or something, but swiping a screen left to right is a patententable thing? Come on... its crazy.

It's beyond crazy, especially in the biomedical field. How do you patent genes, DNA and the fundamental building blocks of life? Michael Crighton wrote a really fascinating book called "Next". The Patent Office is issuing patents on things they do not comprehend, and are either too lazy or incompetent to consider the ramifications of what they are doing.

Software patents are merely a symptom of a much more serious problem. I wish I had a solution for this problem - I'd patent it.

24 posted on 02/23/2012 1:00:15 PM PST by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: sten

Nah. Intellectual property laws are what’s distinctly anti-capitalist here. Since these rely on government fiat to grant effective monopoly power over intangible ideas and innovations, thereby enforcing an arbitrary limitation of supply on goods that in reality are infinitely reproducible. Nothing capitalist about that.


25 posted on 02/23/2012 1:05:56 PM PST by Utmost Certainty (Our Enemy, the State | Gingrich 2012)
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To: sten
Just because Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation tilt against payment doesn't mean all Open Source is "Anti-Capitalistic"

There are quite a few large companies like Red Hat who do very well by selling services to clients.

You are complaining because people contribute their type to projects? Build a better product or more functionality.

26 posted on 02/23/2012 1:20:01 PM PST by Minus_The_Bear
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To: alex2011
Look the biggest draw back that electronic voting machine have is that it is impossible to cheat and change the results. A computer will give the same numbers no matter how many times you recount.

Now voting machines should not be available for hacking and that is pretty easy to do. For example, there would be no need for a computerized voting machine to be connected to the internet.

you are all scared of them because the Democrats will not allow them because of the endless recount issue no longer working for them. The media are alarmists.

Computers are the real answer for fair elections. I can envision a day when you go to your polling place to vote (showing proper ID of course). The computer will know if you are entitled to vote there. We probably will want to employee facial recognition so that I know you are really who you say you are, or perhaps DNA sampling would be better.

Yes computers are the answer. I would even volunteer to program them.

27 posted on 02/23/2012 1:20:59 PM PST by w1andsodidwe (Barrak has nowuwon the contest. He is even worse than Jimmah.)
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To: Minus_The_Bear
There are quite a few large companies like Red Hat who do very well by selling services to clients.

The modern-day version of "Give away the razors, sell the blades." "Give away the software, sell the services."

28 posted on 02/23/2012 1:23:03 PM PST by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Minus_The_Bear

put out a product in a new category, and watch people rage about having to pay anything for it (even as low as $10 is to much for these people). after that, expect to see a free solution pop up and promoted. sloppier and with less features, but free.

the VAST majority of free software is hacked crap. some projects are written well, but the majority isn’t.

as for red hat, they made the majority of their cash supporting a product they never developed (yes, I know they are now developing and submitting... thereby protecting their position).

if you were in the industry in the 80s and 90s, you’ll remember the articles about how the big corporations fear the garage software developer. in response, large corporations embraced the free software movement... raising the barrier to entry for small developers


29 posted on 02/23/2012 1:42:02 PM PST by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: sten

In a word, no. Most FOSS developers are either do it for a hobby or do it for very commercial reasons. Maybe your impression of open source was colored by Richard Stallman and the GNU project but that view was embraced and co-opted by the joys of making $$.

That said, I’m going to get back to a sweet little contract I picked up supporting a startup that is using FOSS software for BigData and Search.


30 posted on 02/23/2012 9:48:54 PM PST by sick1 (Don't fear the freeper)
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To: sick1

i did software contracting for 10+ years. although quite lucrative, you won’t be able to ‘get off the wheel.’

creating your own products and putting them out is how you get off the wheel. having anti-capitalists ‘compete’ against you by putting out free software (or making cracks available) undermines the small software shop


31 posted on 02/23/2012 11:36:43 PM PST by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: Hodar

I agree, but the tech field won’t be touched.. The software patent laws will update when the H1B visa rules are actually enforced and companies are punished for violating them... Not going to happen.


32 posted on 02/24/2012 5:31:08 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: sten

Understand the frustration. I’m currently writing a proprietary software service/system that is largely based on FOSS software. I expect to sell it for real $$. One must just stay away from areas that are easily commoditized. Sure there’s a risk that a FOSS solution might emerge in your space - but risk from a low cost producer has always been there. I personally do not view FOSS as a barrier to commercial success.


33 posted on 02/24/2012 12:14:53 PM PST by sick1 (Don't fear the freeper)
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To: sick1

depending on the licensing, you might lose any / all profits by having open source within your product

if you are servicing a niche, the likelihood of an open source solution popping up is very low. general systems with mass appeal is usually the target of open source


34 posted on 02/24/2012 12:22:18 PM PST by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: sten

Sure, I’m careful about licensing and stick only to the fully open licenses (Apache & BSD). Basing the work off of Hadoop, HBase, ElasticSearch, & Mahout.

The system is for the large scale storage and processing of Business Audit Logging statements. It targets highly regulated businesses, has detailed UI needs, and serious operational concerns. None of those requirements is typically the sweet spot for FOSS solutions. We’ll see - it’s always a risk but I should have a good head start.


35 posted on 02/24/2012 12:42:19 PM PST by sick1 (Don't fear the freeper)
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