Counting potatoes: The size of Debian 2.2

TitleCounting potatoes: The size of Debian 2.2
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsGonzalez-Barahona, JM
Date PublishedMarch

Debian is possibly the largest free software distribution, with well over 2,800 source packages in the latest stable release (Debian 2.2) and more than 4,000 source packages in the release currently in preparation. But, how large is "the largest"? We show that Debian 2.2 includes more than 55,000,000 physical SLOC (almost twice than Red Hat 7.1, released about 8 months later), showing that the Debian development model (based on the work of a large group of voluntary developers spread around the world) is at least as capable as other development methods (like the more centralized one) to manage distributions of this size. It is also shown that if Debian had been developed using traditional proprietary methods, that its cost would be close to $1.9 billion. In addition, we offer both an analysis of the programming languages used in the distribution.

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