Tag Archives: community

Extracting Data from Open Source Communities

On Sunday at FOSDEM, I have a 5 minute lightning talk about extracting data from open source communities in the HPC, Big Data, Data Science devroom (slides).

Open source communities are filled with huge amounts of data just waiting to be analyzed. Getting this data into a format that can be easily used for analysis may seem intimidating at first, but there are some very useful open source tools that make this task relatively easy.

Metrics GrimoireThe primary tools used in this talk are the open source Metrics Grimoire tools that take data from various community sources and store it in a database where it can be easily queried and analyzed.

Tools covered:

  • CVSAnalY to gather and analyze source code repository data
  • MLStats to gather and analyze mailing list data
  • Other Metrics Grimoire tools for bug trackers, IRC, Wikis and more
  • Gource to visualize source code repository data

MLStats and CVSAnaly – Installation and data import:

It’s very easy to get started with MLStats and CVSAnaly and use them to import data from your mailing lists and code repositories.

  1. Install
  2. $ python setup.py install

  3. Create database
  4. mysql> create database mlstats;
mysql> create database cvsanaly;

  5. Import data
  6. $ mlstats http://URLOFYOURLIST
$ cvsanaly2 /path/to/repo

MLStats – Queries to extract data:

  • Top 100 messages (most replied to threads):
  • SELECT subject, COUNT(*) as total 
FROM messages 
GROUP BY subject 
ORDER by total DESC 
LIMIT 100;

  • Other queries:

    • # of messages from a specific person

    • # of messages per person from email domain

    • Find all messages with specific word in subject line (patch)

    • More queries

CVSAnalY – Queries to extract data:

  • Number of commits per person by email domain:
  • SELECT p.name, p.email, 
COUNT(distinct(s.id)) as num_commits 
FROM people p, scmlog s 
WHERE email like "%company.com" 
AND p.id=s.author_id 
GROUP BY email 
ORDER BY num_commits DESC;

  • Other queries:

    • Top commit authors all time

    • # of commits for specific person
    • More Queries

Other Metrics Grimoire Tools:


Gource is an amazing tool to visualize activity from your source code repositories. I did a full talk about Gource on Friday at the FLOSS Community Metrics meeting, so have a look at that blog post for details about using Gource.

Consulting Again

Scale FactoryAs most of you know, I moved to London to start working toward a PhD last January. Now that I’m off to a good start on the PhD, I find that I actually miss working, so I’m going to start consulting again.

I’ll be working part-time at The Scale Factory here in London. I’m interested in doing consulting projects related to building communities, open source, data analysis, etc. You can find all of the details on my consulting page. I’m also open to doing other types of projects.

If you are interested in getting my help for any of your projects, please email me: dawn@scalefactory.com.

Network Analysis and Community Visualizations

dawn_presentingAs usual, I’ve been neglecting my blog; however, you may notice that I finally did a little redesign using a modern template to make it more mobile-friendly and more accessible to avoid the Google search penalties. With this fresh new design, I decided that I needed something more recent than my last post in January.

So, I thought it would be nice to talk about my presentations from OSCON and the FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting in lovely Portland, OR in July.

If you want to skip my ramblings and get right to the content, you can find all of the code, data sets, instructions and links to the presentation materials on SlideShare by visiting my OSCON 2015 GitHub repository. UPDATE (Aug 23): The video for the OSCON portion is available now, too.

If you missed this presentation and want to see it live and in person, I’ll be doing similar talks at LinuxCon Seattle in August and LinuxCon Dublin in October. You might also be interested in reading the interview that Nicole Engard did with me on Opensource.com right before the conference to give me a chance to talk about my OSCON presentation and metrics in general.

What is Network Analysis?

The presentations both centered around network analysis, which studies relationships between units and looks for patterns and structure in those relationships. This is an oversimplified definition of network analysis, since it’s a fairly complicated discipline, so the best way to describe it is with a few examples of how people use network analysis.

  • My presentations looked at relationships and activity between people participating in an open source project.
  • It’s also used to study the relationships between organizations. Examples include looking at which companies have common people on their board of directors or to look at parent / subsidiary relationships between companies.
  • People are also using it to study animal social networks, like aggression and dominance between horses or food sharing between birds.
  • Someone at the University of Greenwich is doing historical social network analysis to look at the networks of people in medieval Scotland by using data from witness signatures on legal documents.
  • Friendship networks, work relationships, and other ways that people interact are also common examples of network analysis

MetricsGrimoire Tools

Metrics GrimoireThe MetricsGrimoire is the go-to set of tools that you’ll probably want to use to gather data from your open source community and store it into a database where you can write queries to extract the information you need. In these talks, I used mlstats data, but in my research, I also make heavy use of CVSAnalY. The OSCON 2015 GitHub repository README file has more instructions, but in short, you need to install mlstats, create the database, run mlstats on your mailing list to import the data into this new mlstats database, and finally use database queries to extract the data used for this presentation. You can also use my oscon.py script from the GitHub repository to extract the data.

Static Network Visualization

Dawn OSCONI took the output from the oscon.py script and used a combination of RStudio and Visone to visualize the data and create the network using data from one of the Linux kernel mailing lists (IOMMU) from January 2015 to keep the data set to a manageable size. In the end, we created a network diagram showing mailing list replies between people. The people with the most replies (degree centrality) are shown with larger circles (nodes), and the number of replies between any two people is shown by bolder or lighter arrows. Again, the OSCON 2015 GitHub repository README file has all of the details and instructions for how to do this, so I won’t duplicate it here.

Dynamic Visualization

Gource is a tool that most people use to easily visualize source code commits by each person for any repository; however, it can also be used with custom data. If you’ve never used Gource, you might want to take a brief detour and look at some of the many Gource visualizations on YouTube. I only had time in my OSCON talk to briefly cover Gource, but luckily, I was able spend 20 minutes on the topic during the FLOSS Community Metrics Meeting the weekend before OSCON. In the presentation, I showed how to create a custom log format file using mailing list data from mlstats and feed it into Gource for visualization. See the the OSCON 2015 GitHub repository README file for details about exactly how I did this.

What Else?

There are so many different tools available to do visualization of social network analysis. I used Visone because it runs on most major operating systems, and it’s fairly easy to get started with, but there are so many other options that you might want to play around with.

Python has quite a few packages that provide social network analysis, like NetworkX, for example. I haven’t had a chance to play with this much yet, but I know others who do quite a bit of their analysis using these tools, so they are on my list to try.

The final thing that I want to stress is that network analysis is so much more than just having cool graphs that allow you to look at your data. The visualizations are often the first step to see what might be happening in your network, but for those of us doing this type of work, it’s just the first step. The next steps usually involve many different calculations and measures to really understand what might be going on in the community. One example is how we changed the node size based on degree centrality for how many links that person had. It’s easy to explain, but it’s not a particularly sophisticated measurement of network centrality, and there are others that do a better job of looking at how well-connected people are to give you a better measure for influence. For example, if I regularly talk to 2 people within the Linux kernel, and if those people are Linus Torvalds and Greg K-H, I’m likely to be better connected within the network as a whole than if I’m talking to 10 other people with little or no influence.

If you are interested in my academic research, I also did a presentation recently at an academic conference here in the UK. That presentation and others can be found on my Academic page.

Photo credits

OSCON photo by Luis Cañas-Díaz and the FLOSS Metrics Gource photo by Stephen Walli.

Your Metrics Strategy at FLOSS Community Metrics

Cat measuring TapeI’m here in Brussels today for the FLOSS Community Metrics meeting, and I just gave a presentation about how to build Your Metrics Strategy. If you are interested, have a look at my presentation materials.

Talk description:

You probably know that community metrics are important, but how do you come up with a plan and figure out what you want to measure? Most open source projects have a very diverse community infrastructure with code repositories, IRC, mailing lists, wikis and other content sites, forums, and more. Deciding where to focus and what to measure across these many technologies can be a challenge.

What you measure can have a huge impact on behavior within the community, and you want to make sure that you are encouraging people to contribute in sane ways by measuring the activities that matter for your project.

In this presentation, I’ll talk about how you decide what to measure and give you examples of how I’ve done this at Puppet Labs and in other projects.

Photo credit: Sophie on Flickr

The Past Few Months: A Recap

Since I haven’t been blogging here on my own blog lately, I thought maybe a short post talking about what I have been doing would be interesting for at least a few people!

While neglecting this blog, I have been blogging elsewhere and have been spending a lot of time traveling and speaking at conferences. I’ve also been busy with all sorts of other work, so I’ll try to give you the short recap of my activities over the past few months.

A quick summary of a few things that I’ve been doing / blogging / whatever:

The run-down of some recent talks that I’ve given:

Lastly, a few upcoming talks:

I don’t have the patience for digging through the spam to find the legitimate comments on my blog, so comments here are disabled. However, I love feedback and you can reach out to me as @geekygirldawn on Twitter or via various other methods located in the sidebar.

Lessons about Community from Science Fiction

everythingisfine-drwhoIf you think you’ve seen this presentation before, you’re wrong! In the spirit of making sure that every talk at Monki Gras is handcrafted and unique, I prepared a completely new set of slides and lessons just for Monki Gras.

While it is probably obvious from the title, this talk focuses on community tips told through science fiction. While the topic is fun and a little silly, the lessons about communities are real and tangible. Here are just a few of the things that I explored in this presentation:

  • Borg assimilation and bringing new community members into your collective for new ideas.
  • Specialization is for insects. The best community members are the ones who can help in a wide variety of ways.
  • Community members are valuable, don’t treat them like minions.
  • Travel to strange new worlds and meet interesting people

You can get the slides (with my speaker notes) on SlideShare.

Note: Comments are disabled on this post, since I’m tired of dealing with spam, but please ping me on Twitter, @geekygirldawn, or at the email address in the presentation if you have any questions.

What Science Fiction Can Teach Us About Building Communities

Sci-Fi and CommunitiesAt LinuxCon North America in New Orleans and at LinuxCon Europe in Edinburgh, I presented about “What Science Fiction Can Teach Us About Building Communities“.

You can download or view the presentation from Edinburgh or get the original version from New Orleans.

Communities are one of the defining attributes that shape every open source project, not unlike how Asimov’€™s 3 laws of robotics shape the behavior of robots and provide the checks and balances that help make sure that robots and community members continue to play nicely with others. When looking at open source communities from the outside, they may seem small and well-defined until you realize that they seem much larger and complex on the inside, and they may even have a mind of their own, not unlike the TARDIS from Doctor Who. We can even learn how we should not behave in our communities by learning more about the Rules of Acquisition and doing the opposite of what a good Ferengi would do. My favorite rules to avoid include, “Greed is eternal”€, €”You can always buy back a lost reputation€” and “€œWhen in doubt, lie”€. This session focuses on tips told through science fiction.

Note: Comments are disabled on this post, since I’m tired of dealing with spam, but please ping me on Twitter, @geekygirldawn, or at the email address in the presentation if you have any questions.

Updated October 22, 2013: Added the Edinburgh information to this post, instead of creating a new post, since the version presented in Edinburgh contained only small changes from the New Orleans version.

The Puppet Community: Current State and Future Plans

Update September 4: The video of our presentation is now on YouTube.

Today at PuppetConf, Kara Sowles and I will be talking about the Puppet Community at 1:30pm in the French room. The session starts with a look at the Puppet community today. I use our community metrics to take a look at all kinds of data about pull requests, bugs, mailing lists, IRC and more. In addition to the numbers, I’ll also talk about some of our top contributors and our call for proposals for Puppet Camps, and Kara will talk about our Puppet User Groups (PUGs) and Triage-a-thon events. We also have much to do to make the community better, so we’ll talk about some plans for improvements that we’ll be making to the Puppet community. Throughout the presentation, we also include tips for how you can participate in the Puppet community.

I’ve uploaded the presentation along with speaker notes so that you can view or download the presentation now.

Community PuppetConf

Note: rather than dealing with spam, I’m closing comments on the post, but please feel free to reach out to us with questions or comments on Twitter or via email.

Join me at PuppetConf August 21 – 23

Meet Me at PuppetConfIf you are looking for something to do on August 21 – 23, you should come hang out with me at PuppetConf in San Francisco. I can even give you $150 off the registration fee using the code “speaker150off”.

While the main part of the conference is on August 22 and 23, we are hosting a Developer Day (free with conference pass) on Wednesday, August 21st where you can spend the day with our developers and other community members while building modules, contributing to open source projects, working on documentation and much more. You pick the projects you want to work on, and we’ll have plenty of people around to help.

I’ll also be speaking at PuppetConf to talk about The Puppet Community: Current State and Future Plans on Friday at 1:10pm. This presentation kicks off a community track where we have several more sessions about how to participate in the Puppet Community.

Those of you who know me won’t be surprised to see that I am also bringing Werewolf to PuppetConf. We will be playing werewolf on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and I’ll have some gift decks to hand out to the winners! 🙂

Werewolf Cards

We also have many interesting sessions, plenty of other activities (5K, parties, games) and much more. I hope to see you there!

Open Source Community Metrics: LinuxCon Barcelona

I wanted to share the presentation that I will be giving today at LinuxCon Barcelona at 1:20pm, Open Source Community Metrics: Tips and Techniques for Measuring Participation. This is similar to the presentation that I gave a few weeks ago at the LibreOffice Conference in Berlin, but I have added some new data and included different examples. You might also be interested in seeing the Puppet Community Metrics that I recently started posting on the Puppet Labs website.

You can download the presentation from SlideShare.

Talk Abstract:

Do you know what people are really doing in your open source project? Having good community data and metrics for your open source project is a great way to understand what works and what needs improvement over time, and metrics can also be a nice way to highlight contributions from key project members. This session will focus on tips and techniques for collecting and analyzing metrics from tools commonly used by open source projects. It’s like people watching, but with data.

The best thing about open source projects is that you have all of your community data in the public at your fingertips. You just need to know how to gather the data about your open source community so that you can hack it all together to get something interesting that you can really use. This session will be useful for anyone wanting to learn more about the communities they manage or participate in.