Measuring the true success of OpenOffice.org
What is success ?
Is success measured in downloads, or up-loads ? are bugs filed as good as bugs fixed ? are volunteer marketers as valuable as volunteer developers ? If we have lots of bugs filed and lots of volunteer management material is that success ? is the pace of change important ? Does successful QA exist to create process to slow and reject changes, or by accelerating inclusion of fixes improve quality ? Is success having complete, up-to-date and detailed specifications for every feature ? Is success getting everyone to slavishly obey laborious multi-step processes, before every commit ? Alternatively does success come through attracting and empowering developers, who have such fun writing the code that they volunteer their life, allegiance and dreams to improve it ?
Magnitude of contributions
This graph is more meaningless than it might first appear, the raw data still shows noise like individuals committing obvious sillies copying chunks of OO.o to the binfilter eg. To some extent it is further distorted by us trying to clean this up for the past couple of years before giving up.
So the data is not that useful. Is it more useful to look at an individual to see if they are contributing something ? If we threshold the data we can at least approximate an activity metric / boolean. The graph below shows two developers - the Sun developer Niklas Nebel, and the Novell hacker Kohei Yoshida. Both work primarily on calc, and you can see the large bar when Kohei committed his solver to a branch at the end of 2006.