How to Mangle Information: Coverity's Open Source Bug Report
Source: ZDnet Open Source Blog - Posted by Ryan Berens   
Latest News The recent awareness on Coverity's test on Open Source projects has been making the rounds non-stop in the past days. The issue at hand here is the inherent value in what Coverity is actually providing - that is, identifying bugs in software to improve its quality.

Coverity's model is certainly one way of addressing the quality of code in an open source project. In fact, it can be a very useful model. They stated that 11 of the projects were cleared based on their "rung" system, among other observations.

But the issue is that many venues are mangling the information. First they are not stating closed source bugs/problems. Obviously, you can't compare two sides by only counting the faults on one side. To be more clear, awareness of the # of bugs in open source projects has absolutely no bearing on the absolute value of problems relative to other closed-source projects. They are exclusive of each other. Not to mention the fact that more awareness of bugs may account for bad press, but can allow for better overall security (knowledge is power).

The real problem here is that many of those covering the story are portraying it in the worst way imaginable; and in some cases, they are outright inaccurate.

Case in point, the following comment was found on the open source blog at ZDNET regarding the Firebird project - its an example of how sometimes percpetion can be misconstrued... pen Source Code Contains Security Holes

As a developer and administrator of the Firebird Project I completely reject the statement you made in the above article.

"The somewhat moribund Firebird project, for example, is listed with 195 identified defects, of which it has verified zero and fixed zero. The active Firefox browser project, on the other hand, has fixed 370 bugs, verified 56 and faces another 246 to verify and fix."

The Firebird project is in fact incredibly active - perhaps a look at this chart on our bug tracker might give you a clue.

Firstly the Firebird project reviewed the Coverity results almost immediately they were published and found that the report isn't actually related to the Firebird engine. This URL shows our appropriate comments from the 7th March 2006:

Also more comments from Claudio on the 26th March 2006:

Secondly in a more detailed reply to the actual "PR" issue raised by David Maxwell...

Read this full article at ZDnet Open Source Blog

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