The overall number of defects in open-source projects is dropping, a new study by vendor Coverity has found.

Coverity, maker of tools for analyzing programming code, received a contract in 2006 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help boost the quality of open-source software, which is increasingly being used by government agencies.

The vendor has set up a Web site through which open-source projects and developers can submit code to be analyzed. The vendor assigns projects to a series of "rungs" depending on how many defects they resolve.

Four projects have been granted top-level "Rung 3" status, after resolving defects discovered during Rung 1 and 2, Coverity said. They are Samba, tor, OpenPAM and Ruby. The Scan site has so far analyzed more than 60 million unique lines of code from 280 projects, according to Coverity. More than 180 projects have developers actively working to scan open-source projects.

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