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Comparing open source and open development

Why do we use open development when designing and building the XPRTs, and what’s the difference between our open development approach and traditional open-source methods? The terminology around these two models can be confusing, so we wanted to review some similarities and differences.

Why open development?

An open development approach helps encourage collaboration, innovation, and transparency. XPRT community members get involved in the development of each benchmark from the beginning:

  • They submit suggestions, questions, and concerns that inform the future design of the tools.
  • They view early proposals for new versions and contribute comments for the final design.
  • They suggest new workloads.
  • They have access to community previews (beta builds) of the tools.
  • They submit source code for inclusion in the benchmarks.
  • They examine existing source code.

A commitment to transparency

Because we’re committed to publishing reliable, unbiased benchmarks, we also want make the XPRT development process as transparent as possible. It’s not unusual for people to claim that any given benchmark contains hidden biases. To address this problem, we make our source code available to anyone who joins the community. This approach reduces the risk of unforeseen bias in our benchmarks.

Quality control

Unlike open-source models, open development allows us to control derivative works, which can be important in benchmarking. While open source encourages a constantly evolving product that may fork into substantially different versions, benchmarking requires a product that remains static to enable valid comparisons over time. By controlling derivative works, we can avoid the problem of unauthorized versions of the benchmarks being published as “XPRTs.”

In the future, we may use a traditional open-source model for specific XPRTs or other projects. If we do, we’ll share our reasoning with the community and ask for their thoughts about the best way to proceed. If you’re not a community member, but are interested in benchmark development, we encourage you to join today!

Justin

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