As an update of our analyses on previous releases of OpenStack, today we present our analysis of company contributions to Grizzly, the new release of the project being published today. OpenStack is a well known free / open source software project providing facilities for building private and public clouds. It is also a good example of a development community in which almost all participants are affiliated to some company. Therefore, it is interesting to study how companies contribute to the project by means of their employees. This is exactly what we did in our analysis.
The results are revealing, and more when you put them into context by looking at how companies were behaving in previous release cycles. The data is telling a story of how a project which was clearly dominated by a single company (RackSpace) has led to a real community with many actors. With more than 20 different companies contributing every week and a total of more than 50 companies which contributed at some point, OpenStack is becoming one of the projects with more corporate involvement. The number of people involved is also large, and growing. In September / October, when the release cycle was starting, about 40-50 persons contributed each week. At the end of the cycle, in March, they were about 80-90.
The top corporate contributors are no surprise: Red Hat, Rackspace, IBM, Nebula, HP and others are well known for their support of the project. Maybe it is interesting to see how Rackspace is slowly handing over the leadership of the project to other companies, and how quickly some of them are getting involved.
[Now, go on reading this post, or have a look at the complete analytics dashboard for Grizzly]
[Note (Apr 6th 00:10 CEST): Thanks to those of you who are reporting what seem to be errors or inaccuracies. We’re having those reports into account and will produce a new run of the data soon. However, up to now they don’t seem to change things significantly except for specific developers or maybe some company going one position up or down in some list. Please, keep those reports coming.]
The data shows how no single company is today controlling the project. The main contributor per number of commits (Red Hat) is responsible for much less than 20% of all contributions, and other metrics are providing similar results. The community is showing the usual combination of some more involved companies, and a long tail of more casual contributors. The summary charts for all companies tell the different stories of their involvement: many are growing in contributions, while some are stable and a minority are having a decreasing participation (after factoring the usual ups and downs).
When looking at the larger contributors by commits, those stories are apparent. Red Hat has become the first contributor, with about 15-20 persons involved in development. IBM is the rising third (or second, depending on the metric), with a clear increase during the period, up to maintaining a team of 15-20 during the last weeks. Rackspace is the other main contributor, stable during the period with a team of about 10-15 active developers.
The different charts show how companies are not only involved in shaping the source code, but are also contributing by working to close bugs, and are participating in the mailing lists. All in all, the history of these six months of OpenStack development is one of growth, increased involvement by most of the companies participating in it, and increasing participation by number of companies.
The analysis has been performed by retrieving data from the development repositories of the project: git for changes to the source code (official repositories are hosted in GitHub), Launchpad for tickets, including bug reports, and Mailman for mailing lists. For the retrieval, MetricsGrimoire was used, and vizGrimoire is the basis of the analysis and visualization. We have identified affiliations for developers based on data provided by the OpenStack Foundation and on our own research. For source code changes (git), we have considered authors of commits (as oppossed to committers of commits, which for OpenStack are in many cases bots such as Gerrit). For tickets, we have considered those closed by authors of commits (using their identifiers in git and Lanuchpad to do the matching) and for email messages we have considered messages sent by authors of commits as well (in this case matched using their address).
No single metric can show all aspects of the participation of a company in the project. In particular, number of commits or number of tickets closed are just proxies for activity and contributions, and cannot be considered as exact measures of any of them: commits and tickets may be very different from each other, and have a very different value for the project. However, the analytics used in the report is usually considered as a good approximation to the overall activity.