One open source software defect fix every six minutes

Coverity, makers of a source code analysis solution, today announced preliminary findings showing that open source developers fixed a software defect every six minutes in the week following Coverity’s analysis for the DHS that established a baseline metric for software quality. In seven days, the defect density for 32 open source projects analyzed dropped from 0.434 defects per thousand lines of code to 0.371 defects. Samba, a widely used open source project used to connect Linux and Windows networks, showed the fastest developer response, reducing software defects in Samba from 216 to 18 in the first seven days.

“Coverity found bugs in parts of Samba that we had previously considered completely robust and tested,” said Jeremy Allison, head of the Samba development team. “Coverity is making a major contribution to the code quality of the Samba project.”

“My impression is that the open source community is producing software defect patches at an extremely fast rate,” said Ben Chelf, CTO of Coverity.”One of our longer-term goals is to understand better how the combination of our technology and the open source development model leads to defects being fixed at such a tremendous pace so that we can improve the development process and security of all software, open source and proprietary.”

In the first seven days, more than 200 open source developers registered to gain secure access to the online defect database and used the information to resolve more than 900 defects. This is an average of more than 5 bug fixes an hour. Developers for the Amanda and XMMS projects eliminated all software defects that the Coverity analysis detected. The maintainers of Amanda subsequently released a major version (2.5) of the popular backup and recovery software highlighting the milestone of 0 outstanding Coverity defects.

Although the three-year DHS contract, “Vulnerability Discovery and Remediation Open Source Hardening Project,” was just announced in January, the project is already making a positive impact on the development of some open source projects. Within the first week of Coverity’s analysis, X.org, the makers of the widely used X Window open source software found in major distributions of Linux, Solaris, and others, discovered that Coverity found a major security vulnerability which allows any user with a login to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service with root privileges. A security advisory was broadcast shortly thereafter resulting in patches from vendors.

According to Allison, “Using Coverity’s source code analysis technology is like having a developer on the team with an inhuman attention to detail, who points out all the corner cases and boundary conditions developers didn’t considered when they first wrote the code.”

An updated table of summary results, access to the secure database of defects, and an explanation of the research is available at http://scan.coverity.com .

Source: Coverity Press Release

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