Open source ratings and the law of unintended consequences

Summary:This is really overdue, but I can't help worrying about the Law of Unintended Consequences

Tony Wasserman - CMU
One of the OSCON sessions I'll most regret missing happens on Thursday, when Tony Wasserman of Carnegie-Mellon (right) and Murugan Pal of Spikesource announce the Business Readiness Rating system.

The idea is to create objective criteria that users can follow in publishable ratings of the 100,000 open source projects out there. It would operate a bit like Zagat's does for restaurants, using a lot of people who've eaten the stuff rather than a few highly-trained reviewers.

This is really overdue, but I can't help worrying about the Law of Unintended Consequences:

  • Could this merely validate what's popular and prevent good new projects from moving forward?
  • How good and objective are the reviewers going to be?
  • Could this become a crutch for business executives?

The best possible people are working on this. In addition to CMU and Spikesource, O'Reilly and Intel are also on board. I assume they all share my worries, and it's good to have them on the case.

Topics: Open Source


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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