With the commercial support of both Oracle and Sonatype behind the development of Hudson, the future looks good for the eponymous continuous integration tool. However, Jenkins continues to evolve as well [etc, etc]…
I’m not so sure about Hudson’s future. Fortunately, there are a number of easily measurable indicators that should allow us to gauge the progress of these two rival projects.
First, we can look at commit counts. Specifically, commit counts should provide a decent leading indicator of the health of each project, given that they generally foretell whether or not the project is likely to address user needs in new releases.
Second, we can look at user mailing list post counts, which generally tell the story of user uptake after all of the hard work has gone into fixing bugs, adding features and cutting new releases. I would consider user mailing list usage to be a lagging indicator.
So after two weeks, what does the commit picture look like? Well, Hudson has seen 40 commits since the split , while Jenkins has seen 166 commits. It’s not even close. As a leading indicator, this bodes well for Jenkins’ future.
What about user mailing list activity? Remember that logically this should be a lagging indicator. As such, I expected the Hudson user list to remain more active than the Jenkins user list for quite some time, even if Jenkins ends up overshadowing Hudson over time. Astonishingly, the Hudson user list has seen 55 posts since the split, while the Jenkins user list has seen 563 posts in the same time frame! Have users already decided, en masse, to adopt Jenkins over Hudson? That’s certainly the picture painted by these numbers.
Two weeks is an extremely small track record on which to base any conclusions, and some of these numbers may be distorted by infrastructure issues on the Hudson side, but I think it’s safe to say that Hudson’s future is a little murkier than Alex’s optimism might suggest. The good thing is that we’ll be able to revisit these numbers in 6 months and have a pretty clear idea of where things are headed :-)
 All of the counts in this post are as of the time of writing, and begin counting on February 1st, 2011.
UPDATE (4/4/2011): I’ve posted a newer commit graph here.