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Today Red Hat helped kick off Project CHAOSS, which stands for Community Health Analytics Open Source Software. This project, announced today at the Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, is making available new open source tools from Red Hat and Bitergia which make it easy to collect and evaluate trends among open source projects. This effort is something new for Red Hat, and I wanted to explain how it came to be.

As an open source company, Red Hat has always had a strong interest in the creation and health of open source projects. The large number of living projects makes keeping up with them a challenge. We thought it would be helpful to have a tool for automated collection and continuous tracking of a wide range of project metrics. In 2012, we started working to build one.

As the tool took shape, we decided to name it Prospector, recalling the days of gold prospecting, and considering the discovery of new value in the world of open source. Today Prospector (available here: https://github.com/chaoss/prospector) provides automated and continuous data collection from public sources about the operation of open source projects. It also allows for detailed analysis of projects, and easy comparisons of the data from various projects. The vision for Prospector originated with Michael Cunningham, senior vice president and general counsel of Red Hat, and development was led by Harish Pillay, a senior community relations manager.

Once Prospector was operational, we explored various possibilities for open-sourcing it, and found experienced and able partners in the Linux Foundation and Bitergia. For licensing, we settled on the leading modern copyleft license, GPLv3. Other groups and academics joined the CHAOSS effort, including the Eclipse Foundation, Mozilla, OpenStack, and others. Leading researchers signed on to work on building a set of reference metrics for understanding communities. We agreed on a charter and formed a governance board

The announcement of the CHAOSS project and the open sourcing of Prospector is just a beginning. Open source projects do not thrive without ongoing commitment and creativity. But we think the chances for success are good and look forward to working with the open source community and CHAOSS project contributors in this effort.


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