Identifying Low Rep Packages

Identifying Low Reputation Packages: Key Factors and Their Importance


When using third-party packages, it is crucial to evaluate their reputation to ensure the security, stability, and reliability of your project. This document will explain the following factors and their importance for identifying low reputation packages within Arnica.

  • Number of releases

  • Number of stars

  • Number of dependents (last 3 versions)

  • OpenSSF Scorecard overall reputation

  • Days since first publish

  • Days since last publish

  • Number of downloads last week

Number of releases

The number of releases is an indication of the package's maturity and how frequently it is updated. A low number of releases might suggest that the package is still in the early stages of development or not actively maintained. It is important to ensure that a package has a history of regular updates and improvements to address bugs, security vulnerabilities, and feature requests.

Number of stars

The number of stars on a package's repository serves as a proxy for its popularity and community support. A low number of stars may indicate that the package is not well-known or not widely used, which could be a red flag for its quality, reliability, or security. A higher number of stars generally signifies more trust from the community and indicates that the package is more likely to be well-maintained.

Number of dependents (last 3 versions)

The number of dependents shows how many other packages depend on the given package. It helps to understand the package's impact on the ecosystem and its importance to other developers. A low number of dependents for the last 3 versions may imply that the package is not widely used, and its reliability or compatibility may be questionable. A higher number of dependents indicates greater trust in the package's quality and stability.

OpenSSF Scorecard overall reputation

The OpenSSF Scorecard is a tool that provides a security health score for open-source projects. The overall reputation score takes into account factors such as security policy, vulnerability management, and code review practices. A low score may indicate that the package does not follow best security practices or has known security issues, making it a risky choice for your project. A higher score shows a commitment to maintaining security standards.

Days since first publish

The time since a package was first published can give an indication of its maturity and stability. A recently published package might not have undergone extensive testing or real-world usage, increasing the risk of undiscovered bugs or vulnerabilities. Older, well-established packages are more likely to have a stable codebase and a history of addressing issues.

Days since last publish

The time since a package's last update can reveal its maintenance status. A package with a long period since its last update may be abandoned or not actively maintained, which could lead to unaddressed security vulnerabilities or compatibility issues with newer technologies. Frequent updates generally suggest an active and responsive development team that addresses issues promptly.

Number of downloads last week

The number of downloads is a measure of a package's popularity and community adoption. A low number of downloads may indicate that the package is not widely trusted or used, which can be a sign of potential quality or security concerns. A high number of downloads usually implies a wider user base, increasing the likelihood that the package is well-maintained and has undergone thorough testing.

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