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A Fedora Repository Dance

Ithaca, NY The process of open source software development has been called a lot of things–collaborative, transparent, unwieldy, community-driven, cost effective, innovative, but never before a “dance.” This may be because it is a novel idea to visualize open source code development as a series of complex and sometimes dramatic movements between and among people and infrastructure as they engage in the ongoing evolution of dynamic software. That is until Chris Wilper, Technical lead and developer for the Fedora repository project, took the entire 8.5 year history of Fedora repository development and made it “dance.” Enjoy this visualization and remember that Moliere’s caution, “All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing,” does not apply to the successful open source development history of Fedora–flexible, extensible digital object repository architecture.

About the Visualization

While testing a migration of Fedora's SVN repository to Git Chris Wilper decided to run Gource (Software Version Control Visualization) over it to “see” the code commits over the project’s history. The resulting animated visualization is beautiful while also presenting an informative view of collaborative Fedora repository software development as a living process.

The branches and nodes are files and folders in the source tree. The shooting connectors going from the names of Fedora repository developers to files and folders represent an action such as adding, modifying or deleting a file in the source tree.

The activity in 2009-2010 really picks up in part because the source code was reorganized, repackaged and switched to Maven, and also because several new contributors jumped into the process.