CodeSee today launched a free Open Source Hub (OSH) service that makes it easier for developers to analyze the codebase that is part of an open source software project.
Shanea Leven, CEO of CodeSee, said capacity is critical as it makes it easier to explore open source codebases, reducing the effort for developers to understand where to contribute.
OSH is based on a visualization tool of the same name created by CodeSee. The CodeSee tool allows developers to see how a codebase is constructed using graphical technologies that scan software resources and identify components and their relationship to each other. Developers can also use CodeSee to better understand the impact changes to that codebase will have.
In addition to making it easier for developers to discover open source software projects, OSH also allows administrators and contributors to create personal profiles that allow other members of the open source community to see how their efforts have impacted different projects.
CodeSee, as part of OSH, also offers integration with Discord, an online collaboration service for voice, video, and text, to make it easier for administrators and contributors to open source software projects to collaborate.
Leven said that these days it just takes too long for most developers to carve out a code base to understand what they can contribute to. The larger a code base gets, the less likely a developer will want to take the time it takes to make a meaningful contribution, she noted.
OSH comes at a time when open source project administrators are primarily looking for help securing open source software. The core problem is that many of those projects are maintained by a small number of programmers who voluntarily put their time and effort into building components that others can use for free. Just like any other developer, the amount of security expertise these individuals have is limited. Many of them simply don’t have the time to immediately patch an application when a zero-day vulnerability is discovered.
Unfortunately, many IT vendors and large IT organizations are taking advantage of open source code without contributing anything meaningful to the project, be it funding or helping open source administrators find and fix vulnerabilities. Also, not every contribution has to be in the form of code. Many open source projects simply need help with documentation that, once provided, should free up other contributors to spend more time and effort on application security.
It’s not clear to what extent business and IT leaders realize just how dependent their organizations really are on open source software. Even if they do, getting a developer on board for a software development project is not easy. It can take months for a developer to actually make a meaningful contribution to a project.
Application development is now by definition a group effort. The days of a lone developer taking care of an entire application are long gone. The problem is finding a way for teams of developers to collaborate more easily when most of them have never met in person.