OTB history

Project history

Few weeks ago, there has been a story on slashdot about codeswarm: “stunning visualizations of open source software contributions”.

“Both developers and files are represented as moving elements. When a developer commits a file, it lights up and flies towards that developer. Files are colored according to their purpose, such as whether they are source code or a document.”

Yesterday, I discovered that codeswarm has been finally released as an open source software. Of course, the first idea that came to mind was to try it on the Orfeo Toolbox (OTB) project. OTB is an open source project to process satellite images available at http://otb.cnes.fr. However as the code base is available only in-house (hopefully that will change), it shows only internal contribution.

This project has been going on for two years now, with numerous releases, several developers involved and great improvements.

Before giving more words about the generation of the video, here it is:

It amazing to see how release dates can influence the activity. At such time, developers tend to work on more files and several developers modify the same files which led to grouping everybody towards the center (dashboard effect?). Between releases, the work is more targeted for everybody towards adding new capabilities and everybody is working on its own stuff.

Influence of holidays, in August and Christmas is especially visible here.

Of course such representation only represent activity on the code base and does not show exchanges on the developer mailing list, phone and real meetings, bug tracker, etc…


The video was created using instructions from the codeswarm wiki. I just had to comment two lines from the python script when converting the subversion history (the error message was quite explicit). Some filtering on the data was necessary to remove the background noise which occurs when Utilities are updated (leading to huge number of files changed without really being relevant for the OTB project). Some changes in the configuration file to output the png file and adapt colors for different parts of the project (Code, Examples, Applications, Documentation, etc).

The music is under Creative Common license (“Jorual – untraceable Dreams”) and was combined to the movie using Kino. Titles presenting the several releases are created also with Kino. Kino is not really intuitive but did a great job (especially compared to all the other video editing software I tried yesterday that all end up crashing).

Quite fun to see that the buzz is already going around on the blogsphere as here.

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