Tens of Billions of Lines of Code

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-12-09 Print this article Print


The third myth Black Duck sets out to dispel is that there are only a few billion lines of open source code out there. However, "this figure is an order of magnitude too low," the Black Duck study said. "There are tens of billions of lines of open source code available on the Internet," the company said. In addition, 23 percent of all downloadable code was released or renewed in 2008.  Over 90 percent of open source code is written in the major languages: C, C++, Java, JavaScript and C#; however, dozens of languages are used, the study said.

The fourth myth Black Duck takes a swipe at is that open-source programmers do not add comments about their code. Yet, according to the Black Duck findings, open-source developers create about one comment line for every four lines of source code they produce. Indeed, the findings showed that the most commented programming language is Java, with more than one comment line for every two lines of code. The least commented language is Boo; a python-inspired programming language that operates within the .NET Framework.

The fifth and final myth Black Duck takes on is that the GNU GPL (General Public License) Version 3 is being ignored. However, Black Duck research showed that GPLv3, which was initially released in June 2007, has grown from zero to over 6,300 projects today.  In terms of project adoption, it has surpassed the CPL (Common Public License), Mozilla, MIT and Apache licenses. 

In fact, according to Black Duck, GPLv3 is now the fifth most chosen license in the open-source community, and, if the current trend continues, it will surpass BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) for the No. 4 spot in a year or two.  About 70 percent of all open-source projects use a variant of the GPL license, Black Duck said.

Doug Levin, founder and director of Black Duck, called the company's open-source myth-busting "interesting and useful" for enterprises. 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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