What happened to OpenBRR (Business Readiness Rating for Open Source)?

I am studying a Master Degree on Libre software and recently we finished a subject called Project Evaluation. It covers many aspects related to software evaluation and quality in software projects, and the tools and data available from libre software projects that allow us to measure many aspects (much more than with proprietary pieces) to analyse the quality of the software, the health of its community and the processes involved in its development and maintenance.

Among other topics, some standarized models to evaluate the quality of a FLOSS project have been explained: OpenBRR, QSoS and QualOSS. From this 3 models, OpenBRR is the simpler one and students applied it in one exercise in order to select a suitable control version system for an hypothetical company.

I have to say that I got impressed about OpenBRR. The acronym stands for “Business Readiness Rate for Open Source” and it was created in 2005 by Intel, O’Reilly Code Zoo, and the University Carnegie Mellon. The model is easy to understand and we were provided an ODS spreadsheet with all you need to evaluate a project.

OpenBRR creators wanted to build a standarized model and as consequence to make easier the assessment and evaluation of open source software. They wrote in their whitepaper that a database of already evaluated software project could be created. I found this document about the “OpenBRR corporate initiative” to achieve all these goals, and this article explaining that it was in draft status in 2006, but it seems that no news have been published since then.

But some years after that, I find that the website of OpenBRR is not providing the whitepaper or the templates for the evaluations. It seems it only stands the main page, but no menu or link to more information is providen.

The whitepaper is referenced in many places but I could not found it in any official page (meaning “official” a page from any of the creators of the model). You can download the whitepaper here.

No email or contact details from the authors are writen in the website nor in the paper. I could neither find, searching the web, cases of evaluated projects using OpenBRR approach.  If you know any reference, please contact me or post a comment here.

I found that the OpenBRR spreadsheet that students received in our Master, and the ones that you can download from internet (if any), are published with license CC-NC-SA 2.5. This is a pity, maybe if it was published with a libre license (CC-BY-SA or CC-BY) it would be more used, specially in business environments, where it seems it is intended to be used a project evaluation…

You can take a look at my class team for this OpenBRR exercises repository, where you can find OpenBRR sheets for 3 different version control systems (Git, Mercurial, SVN). In all of them we added 6 more metrics and tailored weights to specific requirements in a case use (explained in the main pdf file).

I found what it seems an improved version of the OpenBRR spreadsheet here, in a website of Smals, with an inventary of  open source projects (but they are not evaluated using OpenBRR model). Smals is one of the largest ICT companies in Belgium and provides all kind of technologies and support.

Among the interesting improvements that they did to the model, I can list:

  • Added a sheet containing links to several metrics that should be considered as indicators for possible problems (Low scores could indicate serious issues). Whe can find here, for example, reference of deployment, and number of bugs fixed in last 6 months.
  • Changed “Usability” for “Installation”. Removed “Functionality” category (maybe because is very particular to each case) and added new category “License”.
  • Added “Age” and “Status” (release status) metrics to “Community”
  • Added “Number of members of the leading team” and “existence of roadmap” to “Professionalism”.
  • Metrics present in License category:
    • Protection against proprietary forks (GPL preferred)
    • Permissiveness preferred
    • Multiple licenses?
    • Limitations of community or free edition

With all this information (or lack of it) I cannot be sure if OpenBRR is an abandoned initiative (or maybe secret), or it is still being used. I would like to know more about this. Can you help me?

About larjona

My name is Laura Arjona, I am a libre software user and fan of the free culture. If you want to contact me you can write an email to larjona [at] larjona [dot] net I am @larjona at identi.ca in the Pump.io social network. --- Me llamo Laura Arjona, soy usuaria de software libre y fan de la cultura libre. Si quieres contactar conmigo puedes escribir a larjona [en] larjona [punto] net Soy @larjona en el servidor identi.ca, de la red social Pump.io.
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One Response to What happened to OpenBRR (Business Readiness Rating for Open Source)?

  1. Gergely Mészáros says:

    Haha, I was googling for OpenBRR for the same purpose (PhD research in my case) and your site was the *best* source found. Thx. :-) … and shame of them. :-/
    Moreover, i’ve found that EU funded projects like QualOSS, FLOSSMetrics, Flossquality are also in horrible publication state, linking to japaneese sites and having apache default startpage.
    I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but this is suspicious at least. :-D
    I hope you’ve made progress in your thesis nevertheless.

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