Study finds open source is slightly better than closed source software

The open source code quality has improved, according to the new Scan Open Source Integrity Report from Coverity. The study compares more than 37 million lines of open source code against 300 million lines of closed source code from a sample of unknown users of the company products, and finds that when the codebase is on par the open source software contains fewer defects than its proprietary counterpart.

Coverity test platform is able to scan code hunting for known defects, and its latest upgrade let it find even more bugs. According to data contained in the scan report, for an average size of 7.5 million lines of code, closed source software includes 0.64 defects per thousand lines.

In comparison, open source software contains 832,000 lines of code on average and 0.45 defects per thousand lines. The study found that when closed and open source projects are almost the same size, they are basically on par as for defects in the code with the open source side performing slightly better on that regard.

Coverity states that the seven million lines of Linux code, for example, have just 0.62 defects per thousand lines and can be considered – together with PHP 5.3 and PostgreSQL 9.1 – among the best quality (open source) software the industry has to offer right now.

During the latest years, Coverity’s Zack Samocha noted, open source has improved in code quality a lot and  “The line between open source and proprietary software will continue to blur over time as open source is further cemented in the modern software supply chain”.

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