Increasing activity in the Buildroot community

In the recent times, the Buildroot project has seen a particular high level of activity, with a significant number of new contributors and contributions. It is an interesting opportunity to have a look at some statistics of the project activity in the last years: they show that the Buildroot project is really active, and in rapid development.

First, a look at the number of commits per month is an obvious way of looking at the activity of an open-source project. For two years, the project has seen each month at least 150 commits, and since for the last year, most of the months have seen between 300 and 400 commits.

Buildroot activity in commits

Another interesting data point is that this increasing number of commits is not only due to an increasing effort from the existing core developers, but rather due to an increasing number of contributors. The following graph, which displays the number of unique contributors having had patches merged each month, clearly shows that the Buildroot community is growing. From an average of 10-15 contributors per month a few years back, the project is now having between 30 and 40 unique contributors each month.

Number of Buildroot contributors

The mailing list activity also nicely reflects this increasing activity: it is now receiving almost each month between 1500 and 2000 e-mails, which means between 50 and 65 e-mails per day, and it starts to be difficult to read everything!

Number of Buildroot mailing list posts

Finally, the number of packages has also increased progressively over the last two years. As can be seen on the graph below, the period 2008 → 2011 hasn’t seen a big increase in the number of packages, as it was a period mainly focused on refactoring and cleanup work. After this cleanup work, it seems that Buildroot has started gaining in popularity, and more work was done to add more packages for various useful open-source components in embedded systems. Since 2011, the number of packages has been growing regularly, starting from less than 700 in 2011 to reach almost 1200 packages today.

Number of Buildroot packages

All in all, those four graphs clearly show a nice increase of activity within the Buildroot project, which is really cool!

Some notes on how the data was computed:

  • The number of commits per month was obtained by doing a git log --pretty=online --since=yyyy-mm-dd --until=yyyy-mm-dd | wc -l for each month.
  • The number of contributors was obtained by doing a git shortlog -sn --since=yyyy-mm-dd --until=yyyy-mm-dd | wc -l for each month.
  • The e-mail statistics were obtained by looking at the number of messages displayed in the HTML archives, per month, as in http://lists.busybox.net/pipermail/buildroot/2013-August/thread.html.
  • The number of packages was computed using an approximate method, that consists in counting the number of .mk files in Buildroot (a few .mk files are not packages, but the vast majority of them are). The exact command used was git checkout -q $(git rev-list -n 1 --before=2013-08-01 master) && find . -name '*.mk' | wc -l.

About Thomas Petazzoni

Thomas Petazzoni is an embedded Linux and kernel engineer at Free Electrons. He is a lead developer of Buildroot and also a contributor to the Linux kernel. More details...
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