Open source community site goes open source

Ohloh, the community site for developers, is making its tools open source, including the Web site itself.

Ohloh, a community site for open source developers, is making its tools open source, including the Web site itself.

The Ohloh site collates information from public open-source version control systems, to create a database of the productivity of open source projects, and the developers working on them. A new "labs" section of the Ohloh site makes source code available, under the GPL version 2. This includes tools such as Ohcount, which counts lines of source code and can be used by companies to audit their software development teams.

"We want to make sure we have a solid process in place so that the development community can easily access and contribute to Ohcount, then we will scale Ohloh Labs to include all Ohloh technologies," said Jason Allen, co-founder and head of engineering at Ohloh, and a former Microsoft manager. "This will happen in the next three to four months."

Ohloh focuses on the people creating code, to offer a social networking site for developers that also answers questions such as how productive a given project is, how popular a particular language is, or even how well-connected a certain developer is. It has reached a high level of popularity. "Each time we ship a feature that reveals more about people who create and use open-source software our traffic goes up," said co-founder Scott Collinson in the Ohloh blog.

The company has faced criticism over privacy, since it gathers information about individuals, but says it is only using publicly available data.

Software development companies currently spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on software license fees to collect the same metrics Ohcount can gather, given appropriate customization and integration with the organizations' management systems, according to the Ohloh release.

"What's particularly welcome about this is that it extends open source into new areas, allowing companies to measure and manage their own use of free software more precisely," said open source commentator Glyn Moody, on his Open... blog.