Coverity Finds Fewer Defects in Open Source Software

Sep 28, 2009

The code analysis specialists Coverity attest to a quality improvement in the open source software they tested.

Coverity investigates code from diverse open source applications in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The agency sees the investigation and the resulting improvement in quality as important because more and more state agencies are relying on free and open software.

Projects can post a request for analysis on the Coverity website and then provide the source code. Among the projects are Firefox, PHP and Linux itself. Coverity's report reveals that finding around 11,000 defects in 2009 meant a 16% reduction over the last year.

Coverity's defect ranking list for 2009. Source: Coverity

Coverity categorizes the projects into rankings based on the quality of their coce. So far only four projects have achieved the highest ranking, Rung 3, Samba, tor, OpenPAM and Ruby. By Coverity's account, they analyzed over 60 million lines of code since the start of their investigation in 2006. The method they use is static analysis, where the code is read directly for security and performance issues without actually running the app. So it tests not so much how it runs but how the code is structured and how it might lead to a faulty sequence of operations.

The full Coverity report for 2009 is available in PDF format.

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