Open Source EC Funded Projects: QualOSS

The European Commission when assigning funds sometimes paid little attention to projects’ overlapping, that it comes with no surprise considering that they don’t keep updated the European F/OSS-related research activities page.

Jean-Christophe DeprezQualOSS project coordinator – in a email conversation told me that the EC eventually realized it, and asked few EC-funded projects to collaborate, as results from the Flossquality initiative.

Collection, aggregation and correlation of data fetched by open source public repositories is of great help when you need to assess open source product quality. Let’s see how things are going at QualOSS and what should we expect from them in the next future.

What is QualOSS primary goal?

QualOSS focused mainly on assessing “FlOSS endeavors” from a risk-oriented viewpoint i.e., assess the risk for an enterprise to integrate a particular FlOSS component in one of its software product.

A particular emphasis was put on a situation where the enterprise wants to enter in a full collaboration with the FlOSS endeavor (and not merely fork or exploit the FlOSS component without interacting with the community).

The QualOSS platform has actually become a framework (for lack of a better term). In particular, the measurement part of an assessment is decentralized. It is done by an evaluator using the recommended tools (or measurement procedures) and then entering the measure results in spreadsheets. Risk indicators are computed automatically by these spreadsheets. There is then a repository to centralize the assessment results, which can then be viewed via Specula [a dashboard for project control developed by the QualOSS partner Fraunhofer IESE].

I couldn’t read the Description of Work, and I am looking forward to get it and see at which extent QualOSS is delivering what it was aimed at. Project’s goals are promising, and we have to wait until the second half of August to get the spreadsheets, apparently among the most relevant results of the project. Now they are testing an improving measures and indicators on various FLOSS endeavors, final results are due around the end of September/middle October [The project has been extended until November 2009.]

Tell us something more about the project.

The decision for changing the platform into its current framework comes from the following observations:

  • The strength of Ohloh is its presentation; however its weakness is the lack of traceability on how they got the results;
  • The strength of QSOS and OpenBRR is their ease of applicability (via spreadsheet or xul forms).

Furthermore the spreadsheet or xml files provide some traceability from the results to the raw data (from which these results were obtained). However, the weakness is the lack of presentation and in particular, they do not foster sharing assessment results as done by Ohloh.

So we decide to mimic the best of both world. Spreadsheet during evaluation and then upload results to the QualOSS repository + Specula for visualization.

Another important reason for moving to a decentralized assessment via spreadsheets is: Enterprises are likely to prefer dealing with spreadsheets (and recommendation on tools) rather than configuring a platform and many tools.

Thank you Jean-Christophe, QualOSS sounds promising, I’ll ping you middle August to know more.

For more information about the QualOSS methodology and its standard assessment method, see the deliverable D4.1 of the project. Deliverable D4.2, covering measures/indicators and the assessment spreadsheets is about to be submitted to the EC, and should be available at in mid-august. Deliverable D5.1 presents Industrial case studies currently under way.