gvSIG is a is a geographic information system (GIS) software designed for capturing, storing, handling, analyzing and deploying any kind of referenced geographic information (more info in Wikipedia). It was born in 2004 as a project run by a public administration (the Regional Government of Valencia, Spain). 9 year later, gvSIG is a complete, mature platform, with a lively international development (and user) community. Many different products have been built based in, or forked from, it.
As usual, we have run our tools on it, producing our basic dashboard. For source code, we have analyzed the two main branches (roughly corresponding to 1.x and 2.x release lines) from their Subversion repository, for tickets we retrieved all we found, for mailing lists we got everything we could get from their Mailman repository.
The most striking fact that jumps to you when looking at the summary tab of the dashboard is how activity in Subversion has two clear phases: until 2010, it is high (300-600 commits per month, with peaks of more than 800), and since them, when activity is much lower.
A similar trend is observed in the number of active developers, which come from peaks close to 25 in 2006-2009 (after an initial period of continuous growth) to a team of about 10 developers until 2011, and even smaller since then.
These differences are explained in part by the launch of the 2.x branch, which after an initial period of high activity (during 2008 and 2009) came to a much lower number of commits per month. Meanwhile, the 1.x branch basically stalled. The period of maximum activity is while 1.x is still active (although declining), and 2.x was being launched.
Curiously enough, this pattern is not observed in mailing lists. In fact, both the number of people sending messages, and the overall number of messages, grows steadily until about early 2011. After that peak, both parameters start to decrease, but very slowly. Message posters come from about 200 message posters in 2011 to about 120-140 in late 2012, with peaks around 160. Messages follow a similar trend.
In this project, tickets don’t seem to be that relevant: we found only about one year of them. In any case, for those that we found, many of them have been opened (about 100 per month), while only a handful of them have been closed (usually less than 10 per month, except for some peaks of 40 and 70 tickets per month).
In summary, the project has shown high levels of activity in the past. Now, it seems to be sort of in maintenance mode, with a very reduced development team. This team is performing, as is natural, much less activity than during the period previous to the 2.x releases. However, the interest in the project is still very alive, as traffic in mailing lists and number of open tickets show.
[Final note: this dashboard was prepared for being presented in VII Jornadas SIG Libre, Girona, Spain]
Nice!! I had the opportunity to read Subversion founder Karl Fogel book; “Producing Open Source Software”. It’s really interesting, a goldmine for everyone running projects, open source or not…
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