Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer and Information Technology

First Advisor

Kevin Dittman

Committee Member 1

Jeffrey Brewer

Committee Member 2

Jeffrey Whitten


Open source software plays an important part in the modern world, powering businesses large and small. However, little work has been done to evaluate the quality of open source software. Two different license paradigms exist within the open source world, and this study examines the difference in software quality between them. In this thesis, the author uses technical debt as a measure of software quality. Eighty open source projects (40 from each paradigm) were downloaded from the popular open source hosting website SourceForge. Using complexity, code duplication, comments, and unit test coverage as inputs to the SonarQube technical debt model, each project was evaluated. The technical debt was normalized based on the cyclomatic complexity and the paradigms were compared with the Mann-Whitney test. The results showed a clear difference between the two paradigms. However, the results presented in this thesis are only a starting point. The collected data suggest that the programming language used in a project has an impact on the project's quality. In addition, SonarQube plugins for the popular C and C++ languages were beyond the budget of this work, excluding many projects from consideration. This thesis closes with several suggestions for further avenues of investigation.