Most open source projects are libraries or frameworks

We found that 60% of the most popular projects on GitHub are libraries or frameworks (including web and non-web ones).

We performed a manual classification of the application domain of 5,000 GitHub repositories (the most popular ones, by number of stars, on January, 2017).

We classified each project in one of the following application domains:

  • Application software: systems that provide functionalities to end-users, like browsers and text editors (e.g., WordPress/WordPress and adobe/brackets).
  • System software: systems that provide services and infrastructure to other systems, like operating systems, middleware, and databases (e.g., torvalds/linux and mongodb/mongo).
  • Web libraries and frameworks (e.g., twbs/bootstrap and angular/angular.js).
  • Non-web libraries and frameworks (e.g., google/guava and facebook/fresco).
  • Software tools: systems that support development tasks, like IDEs, package managers, and compilers (e.g., Homebrew/homebrew and git/git).
  • Documentation: repositories with documentation, tutorials, source code examples, etc. (e.g., iluwatar/java-design-patterns).

The results are in the following figure.

The top-3 domains are web libraries and frameworks (1,535 repositories, 30.7%), non-web libraries and frameworks (1,439 repositories, 28.7%), and software tools (972 repositories, 19.4%).

Most popular applications:

Most popular repositories with documentation:

Most popular software tools:

Most popular web libraries and frameworks:

Most popular non-web libraries and frameworks:

The spreadsheet with all our data is available here.

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