A university, a startup and Intel are pushing for a standard model to rate open-source software, in order to provide users with a better sense of whether the more than 100,000 open-source projects available today are fit for their particular purpose.
The Business Readiness Ratings (BRR) model (available at www.openbrr.org) is the brainchild of Carnegie Mellon West’s Center for Open Source Investigation. Among its cosponsors are open-source testing and certification startup SpikeSource and Intel.
One way to think about the BRR model is as a service akin to Netflix, says Joaquin Ruiz, vice president of product marketing at SpikeSource. Like the online video ordering service, users and developers will rate open-source projects. BRR organizers hope to have the infrastructure available for users to submit ratings by the end of the year.
Ruiz says the model will need to be adaptable to reflect the requirements of different types of users, such as a university or a large corporation.
The organizers have defined 12 categories for assessing open-source projects, including usability, scalability, quality, performance and support. In each category, ratings will be based on a number of metrics. For instance, the quality rating metrics will include how well the software is designed, the quality of the code, the quality of the testing, and how complete and error-free each of these elements is.
Users will rate each element on a five-point scale, from one for “unacceptable” to five for “excellent.” The model will weight the 12 categories according to their importance to users, and the top seven or fewer categories will be used to calculate an overall score for the project in question.