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 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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