As mentioned before, sometimes EU funded projects overlap. Asking around about European open source initiatives, I happened to get in touch with Paul Adams. Apparently Paul is the only person who has worked on each of the three projects to whom the EC asked to collaborate, and I asked him more about such cooperation.
At this time, though, I will say that I am the only person who has worked on each of SQO-OSS, QUALOSS and FLOSSMETRICS. I worked on SQO-OSS at Sirius. I am now working for Zea Partners on QUALOSS and FLOSSMETRICS.
The SQO-OSS, QUALOSS and FLOSSMETRICS projects were all funded at the same call, addressing the same challenge in that call. Given they all have a focus on FLOSS technologies, this led many to believe that that they are very similar projects. They are not.
- SQO-OSS was all about producing a /system/ that evaluated (FOSS) software quality.
- QUALOSS was all about producing a /method/ for evaluating FOSS software quality.
- FLOSSMETRICS was all about producing /data/ for (amongst other purposes) evaluating FOSS software quality.
From an early stage the projects collaborated on joint dissemination. Given limited dissemination budgets within the three projects, this made a lot of sense. At the time, the primary output from joint dissemination was shared publications, workshops and a site aggregating our news (flossquality).
This was hardly earth-shattering, but was a precursor to something more substantial. The new joint dissemination initiative is still being built and not publicly launched yet, though.
Beyond dissemination, what about technical collaboration?
Technical collaboration, due to the differences in the projects, was scarce. As was pointed out by the reviewers at the SQO-OSS project final review, there was only really one avenue of technical collaboration that could realistically be achieved:
- The SQO-OSS system was used to
- Process the FLOSSMETRICS data
- Following the QUALOSS method
However, as the SQO-OSS project finished first, that team was never really able to achieve this. Earlier technical collaboration might have ensured that the SQO-OSS tool was able to process FLOSSMETRICS data following QUALOSS’s method, but this might have meant that none of the projects fully met their remit.
This is because the projects were constructed independently and well in advance of receiving funding. Had the project’s been encouraged to work together during their contract negotiations this might have been a different story.
So, whilst it might seem (and, in fact, is) suboptimal that the projects did not work together more on technical issues, the independence of the projects has allowed them to complete their own tasks to a high quality. That is, I am sure the SQO-OSS system /could/ be used to process FLOSSMETRICS data, following the QUALOSS method and produce useful results.
Coherent funding programs - as seen within other EU funded efforts for integrating and strengthening the European Research Area (e.g. GridCoord) - are best suited for better exploitation of the results in industry and business.
The open source quality research area is large and complex, and maybe more effective with a better coordination among Europe’s fragmented efforts towards achieving complementary goals.