Software Development

LibreOffice's massive method removal

If you think your code base is massive, spare a thought for LibreOffice, as the project has only recently managed to remove half of the known unused methods in its code base.

Earlier in the week Novell developer and LibreOffice contributor, Michael Meeks, posted the following graph on his blog.

(Credit: Michael Meeks)

"It seems that over half of our unused code has now bitten the dust. Unfortunately, as we remove more, more wastage tends to be revealed, which explains some of the upward jumps in the graph, nevertheless the trend is clearly down," wrote Meeks.

LibreOffice uses a tool called callcatcher that identifies the unused methods.

Next time a complex code base is giving you pain, if it doesn't have over 5000 unused methods, then you are in a better position than the LibreOffice folk were when they started.


Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...


What is the ratio of good versus obsolete code overall? (what % of total is unused?) How does that ratio compare with other projects? (eg the Linux kernel, various distributions, even MS Office etc. etc.) I'm wondering if there's some sort of constant, or commonality that could aid the removal of unused code regardless of the project. And how much of this sort of thing, having a lot of outdated, unused code, is a matter of documentation keeping up with development?


... to Microsoft Office and Just asking. :-) Cheers, GG.

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