Clones: What is that smell?

Foyzur Rahman, Christian Bird, Premkumar Devanbu
2010 2010 7th IEEE Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR 2010)  
Clones are generally considered bad programming practice in software engineering folklore. They are identified as a bad smell and a major contributor to project maintenance difficulties. Clones inherently cause code bloat, thus increasing project size and maintenance costs. In this work, we try to validate the conventional wisdom empirically to see whether cloning makes code more defect prone. This paper analyses relationship between cloning and defect proneness. We find that, first, the great
more » ... ajority of bugs are not significantly associated with clones. Second, we find that clones may be less defect prone than non-cloned code. Finally, we find little evidence that clones with more copies are actually more error prone. Our findings do not support the claim that clones are really a "bad smell". Perhaps we can clone, and breathe easy, at the same time.
doi:10.1109/msr.2010.5463343 dblp:conf/msr/RahmanBD10 fatcat:cs3zikup75gzrpelz4bwv57krm