Adoption Metrics and Ohloh

Simon Phipps disses downloads as a proxy for FOSS adoption in his post for InfoWorld entitled: “The Download Deception”. He points out how important community metrics are in assessing FOSS projects, and gives Ohloh a nice shout-out in reference to his experience at Sun Microsystems, assessing Sun’s successes and problems with their open source communities:

If we’d had tools like Ohloh in those days, I’m sure things would have been different.

This begs the question though: if adoption is truly an important metric in understanding the success of a FOSS project, how could a site like Ohloh do a better job in illuminating adoption trends for projects? We could look at site statistics, downloads, questions on StackOverflow, and many other potential proxies for adoption, but we’re curious – what do you think? Please add some comments to this post with suggestions for new adoption metrics that Ohloh could .. adopt!

About Rich Sands

I’m the Principal and Founder of RSands Consulting, a developer/FOSS strategy, product management, and marketing consultancy. Formerly Ohloh’s PM, Black Duck is now a client of mine.

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