Date of Award

Fall 12-2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

Committee Director

C. M. Overstreet

Committee Member

L. W. Wilson

Committee Member

R. Mukkamala

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C65 B79 2003


Open source software development is credited as the basic fuel powering much of the Internet, especially the Web. While many organizations rely heavily on open source, few studies have focused on the dynamics of development methodology. This document contains the results of a longitudinal metric study of the open source database PostgreSQL representing an 8 year period of community development. This study is software archeology, excavating bits of an Internet community, a cultural group, for understanding. Longitudinally, McCabe's cyclomatic complexity and Halstead's software science change tempo in accordance with PostgreSQL's maturity, though meritocracy practices of open source might suggest greater divergence. Some have implied that open source development is inferior to commercial development, which implies statically significant varying metrics. The results of this study disagree with this assertion, since McCabe's, Halstead's, and KDSI show a stable progressive growth pattern and not unruly chaotic growth. In fact, as the code has nearly doubled through increased functionality, cyclomatic complexity has remained stable well within McCabe's recommended guidelines. There is also a high degree of correlation among McCabe's, Halstead's, and KDSI potentially yielding new metric equivalence insights.


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