The 30 Highest Velocity Open Source Projects

By June 5, 2017Blog

Open Source projects exhibit natural increasing returns to scale. That’s because most developers are interested in using and participating in the largest projects, and the projects with the most developers are more likely to quickly fix bugs, add features and work reliably across the largest number of platforms. So, tracking the projects with the highest developer velocity can help illuminate promising areas in which to get involved, and what are likely to be the successful platforms over the next several years. (If the embedded version below isn’t clear enough, you can view the chart directly on Google Sheets.)

As a follow-on to my previous look at Measuring the Popularity of Kubernetes Using BigQuery, I’ve been working with developer Łukasz Gryglicki to visualize the 30 highest velocity open source projects. Rather than debate whether to measure them via commits, authors, or comments and pull requests, we use a bubble chart to show all 3 axes of data, and plot on a log-log chart to show the data across large scales. In the graph, the bubbles’ area is proportional to the number of authors, the y-axis (height) is the total number of pull requests & issues, and the x-axis is the number of commits.

There are many stories in the data but these are a few of my takeaways:

  • The highest velocity application frameworks are .NET, Node.js and Ruby on Rails.
  • For front-end software, React, Angular and Vue.js all have a presence.
  • For automation, Ansible, Terraform and Chef are included.
  • Kubernetes is dealing with 2 to 3 times the issues and pull requests of other high velocity projects like React and Homebrew. The project (which is hosted by CNCF) has been using and investing in tools like mungegithub and prow to scale better on GitHub, but it’s not surprising that keeping up is challenging. Of the two higher velocity projects, Chromium uses its own bug tracker and Linux uses the Linux Kernel Mailing List.

All of the scripts used to generate this data are at (under an Apache 2.0 license). If you see any errors, please open an issue there. What’s your biggest takeaway? Please join the discussion on Hacker News and let us know.