Open Source Survey Tools: LimeSurvey

27 July 2010

SOS Open Source last week evaluated LimeSurvey, the PHP open source survey web application to create on line surveys, translated in many languages and downloaded over 485.000 times.

LimeSurvey Sustainability has the highest marks in Maturity (7 years old, and counting) and Stability. LimeSurvey Popularity is strong too, a book is available, but it is pretty old and covers PHPSurveyor (project’s name until 2007).
Case studies from third parties
are also available.

LimeSurvey is a community-led project, rated among the most active at SourceForge this week, probably because of the latest builds of 1.9 RC. LimeSurvey is developed by a very large team of over 30 developers, placing LimeSurvey in the top 2% of all project teams on the meta-forges Ohloh.

LimeSurvey Industrial Strength has strong points too. Documentation is available in many languages. LimeSurvey it is mostly written in PHP, and generously commented. The project has in place tools (Mantis) and QA procedures, granting fast reactions to bugs. Thanks to the availability of a LimeSurvey virtual appliance is easy to try, an on line demo is another option.

Commercial support is available from – a company created by the project leader Carsten Schmitz – at LimeService, the official LimeSurvey hosting platform. Consulting, training and hosting are available also from other vendors (also Italian SIs), but there is no channel partner program.

LimeSurvey Project Strategy is the strongest among the projects that have been scored so far by SOS Open Source. LimeSurvey has a very open architecture of participation, see the public detailed roadmap and the LimeSurvey ideas page, aimed at get users’ features requests heard and publicly discussed. The License has a low mark indeed, but License must be read in conjunction with Community Leadership and Sponsor metrics.

SOS Open Source gives higher marks to the most permissive licenses for a reason: company-led open source projects tend to use copyleft licenses – along with other IP tools – to retain a stronger control over the project. As a result external contributions are reduced, if not eliminated. Open source projects developed and maintained by a single vendor are not lock-in free, and worse their sustainability is constrained by company’s results and VCs decisions, if any.

LimeSurvey is a professional and sustainable survey tool
, as clearly shows the total score graph.

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