Exponential Growth of Open Source

Software development is undergoing a major change away from a fully closed software process towards a process that incorporates open source software in products and services. Just how significant is that change? To answer this question we need to look at the overall growth of open source as well as its growth rate. In this paper, we quantitatively analyze the growth of more than 5000 active and popular open source software projects. We show that the total amount of source code as well as the total number of open source projects is growing at an exponential rate. Previous research showed linear and quadratic growth in lines of source code of individual open source projects. Our work shows that open source is expanding into new domains and applications at an exponential rate.

Authors: Amit Deshpande, Dirk Riehle

Reference: The Total Growth of Open Source; Deshpande A., Riehle D.; The Fourth International Conference on Open Source Systems, Sep 2008, Milan, Italy.

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