OSSpal is the successor project to the Business Readiness Rating (BRR), originally begun in 2005. As with the BRR, the goal is to help organizations find high-quality free and open source software (FOSS). The growing acceptance of FOSS means that the need for such guidance is greater than ever.
The name OSSpal was chosen both to represent the concept of a friendly assistant in the FOSS selection process and to honor the late Murugan Pal, who was a co-founder of the BRR project. Experience with the BRR led us to make some changes for OSSpal. First, the quantitative evaluation offered by the BRR was valuable, but people also wanted to see reviews based on actual experience with a project, in much the same way that people look for both quantitative data and subjective reviews for automobiles, hotels, consumer electronics, and more. Second, the number of FOSS projects has increased dramatically, making it impractical for people to review all of the projects in most areas. So we have used quantitative data measuring popularity to identify those FOSS projects with the greatest use, and have selected them as a starting point for the individual selection process. Third, we are building this site as the foundation for OSSpal; the absence of automated support was a major shortcoming of the BRR. We have organized the projects based on the IDC Software Taxonomy, and are grateful to IDC for granting us permission to use their framework.
The OSSpal site is a work in progress, but has some important goals:
- Making it possible for individuals to register on the site and enter reviews of listed FOSS projects;
- Providing user-friendly mechanisms for entering and searching project reviews;
- Identifying functional evaluation criteria for each category in the software taxonomy;
- Connecting project listings to the quantitative project data collected in Open Hub.
- Expanding project participation, both to enter reviews and to enhance the underlying code, based on Drupal 7.