Report: Eclipse is the most open project, Android the least

By on August 4, 2011, 8:27 PM

Vision Mobile has published a new 45-page report titled "Measuring the true openness of open source projects from Android to WebKit" (PDF, via Ars Technica). In it, the company showcases eight mobile open source projects, and rates them on a scale of openness. The group set out to research and investigate for six months. The software development environment Eclipse ranked the highest when measuring openness, while Android was found to be the lowest (see chart below).

The organization says it wants to help educate the industry about open source. Specifically, it found that one important aspect has been neglected: how to measure openness.

Openness goes beyond the licenses that determine the rights to use, copy, and modify code. It includes governance over the platform, which dictates the right to gain visibility, to influence, and to create derivatives (spin-offs, applications, or devices). Vision Mobile believes it is governance, not a license, which makes the difference between an open and a closed project.

The company quantified governance by introducing the Open Governance Index, a measure of open source project openness. The Index comprises thirteen metrics across the four areas of governance:

  1. Access: availability of the latest source code, developer support mechanisms, public roadmap, and transparency of decision-making.
  2. Development: the ability of developers to influence the content and direction of the project.
  3. Derivatives: the ability for developers to create and distribute derivatives of the source code in the form of spin-off projects, handsets, or applications.
  4. Community: a community structure that does not discriminate between developers.

The report goes into a lot of detail describing the Open Governance Index and the eight projects that were scrutinized. I'd like to see how the ratings will change the next time around and as the projects in question continue to grow.




User Comments: 8

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spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

I know some "open source" women who I'd prefer stay closed. So this graph might be misleading.. from my research.

mosu said:

Least open means still open, unlike other OSes..like MSFT Windows, iOS, Mac.So what's the point of this review and what means Linux when MeeGo, Symbian, Mozilla, Android, Eclipse etc are Linux distributions.What about Chrome?

Guest said:

Symbian is not a Linux distribution, and that goes for Mozilla as well.

Parts of Mac OS X are open source, like the Darwin underpinnings and webkit in Safari. Who knows, maybe the openness of Mac OS X isn't far from Android's 23% ;-)

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

hey where is open office :P

Guest said:

Now add to the fact that new HTC phones will be getting a bootloader web unlock tool Android will be even more open (HTC anyway)

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Android OS 3.x HC not that open if you ask me. Still Gingerbread OS underneath it running things which is more Open than the one is being peddled in the retail level. Linux as always been open. In the past there were a few other OS but they never had been so wonderful like Microsoft and Apple. Linux is the real open source OS. Android OS base on Linux core started open with 1.0, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.3 the kinda taken a back seat with 3.0. Time to make money so there you have it.

example1013 said:

Guest said:

Symbian is not a Linux distribution, and that goes for Mozilla as well.

Parts of Mac OS X are open source, like the Darwin underpinnings and webkit in Safari. Who knows, maybe the openness of Mac OS X isn't far from Android's 23% ;-)

Hell, if you own a Mac you can grab the OSX and iOS SDKs for free (although to be fair Android's SDKs are also freely available).

And even at that Apple doesn't force you to own a mac just to have access. The only issue is that the SDK only runs on Apple computers, which is why I say you need a mac to get it.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Projects come in different flavors; OS's, Applications and Tools.

Eclipse is an SDK for developing (originally & primarily) JAVA code.

Unless you are a programmer, do you really care?

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