A Study of the Relationships between Source Code Metrics and Attractiveness in Free Software Projects

Paulo Meirelles, Carlos Santos Jr., João Miranda, Fabio Kon, Antonio Terceiro, Christina Chavez
2010 Brazilian Symposium on Software Engineering, Salvador, Bahia, 2010, pp. 11-20.

A significant number of Free Software projects has been widely used and considered successful. However, there is an even larger number of them that cannot overcome the initial steps towards building an active community of users and developers. In this study, we investigated whether there are relationships between source code metrics and attractiveness, i.e., the ability of a project to attract users and developers. To verify these relationships, we analyzed 6,773 Free Software projects from the SourceForge.net repository. The results indicated that attractiveness is indeed correlated to some source code metrics. This suggests that measurable attributes of the project source code somehow affect the decision to contribute to and adopt a Free Software. The findings described in this paper show that it is relevant for project leaders to monitor source code quality, particularly a few objective metrics, since these can have a positive influence in projects chances of forming a community of contributors and users around their software, enabling further enhancement in quality.

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