• What software is available in the COIN-OR repository and how is it organized?
  • What is the maturity level of a project?
  • What is a stable version? What is a stable release?
  • How do I obtain the source code for a COIN-OR project?
  • How do I compile, link, and run the COIN-OR code?
  • What licenses are COIN-OR projects distributed under?
  • Who do I contact for COIN-OR related questions?
  • Where do bugs get reported?
  • How is the COIN-OR project managed?
  • How can I help?
  • Where does the name COIN-OR come from?
  • Why is the web site url www.coin-or.org and not www.coin.org?
  • I'd like to cite COIN-OR. I notice several publications, is there some standard paper that is typically cited?
The software in the COIN-OR repository is organized into individual projects, each with its own project manager, project management site (now on Github), and project mailing list. Each project is managed by a project manager who oversees development. Some of the projects are inter-dependent and others are stand-alone. For a current list of projects and links to their Web sites, please see the projects page.

All COIN-OR projects are classified on a scale from 0 to 5 according the level of development of the project. The following are the descriptions of the various maturity levels.

  • Level 0: A proposed project for which substantial development has yet to commence.
  • Level 1: Projects that don’t work yet or don’t meet the requirements for becoming a Level 2 project.
  • Level 2: Projects that build and do something useful.
  • Level 3: Level 2 projects that also have substantial documentation, tutorials, examples codes, or other aids to enhance usability.
  • Level 4: Level 3 projects that have versioning, a stable release (see below), and a substantial unit test.
  • Level 5: Level 4 projects that distribute binaries or are packaged in some way.

Projects of maturity level 2 or above (see definition above) have a versioning system that ensures end users some degree of stability and a stable upgrade path as project development continues.

stable version means roughly that the feature set and API associated with that particular version are frozen, but the code may continue to evolve through the application of patches to fix bugs, the addition of documentation, etc. Such a stable version is identified by a two-digit version number (i.e., 5.1). Stable versions continue to evolve, but this evolution should generally consist of bug fixes and minor tweaking only—development of new features is reserved for future versions. The current stable version of a project can generally only be obtained using a SVN client (see below).

stable release is a fixed snapshot of a stable version identified by a three-digit release number (i.e., 5.1.1). For information on obtaining releases, see the download page.

Please see the download page, as well as the COIN-OR User’s Guide.

Most current COIN-OR projects use the Eclipse Public License and this is the license we recommend. However, we accept projects licensed under any license officially approved by the Open Source Initiative. The author of the EPL is the Eclipse Foundation, and they have an EPL FAQ, based on their understanding of the EPL.

Go to the project’s Github site (see the projects page for a list). Create a new issue. Alternatively, you may send a short email to the appropriate mailing list describing the bug. If you are uncertain which list is appropriate, see the projects page for a list or use coin-discuss@list.coin-or.org for general questions.

The COIN-OR project is managed by the COIN-OR Foundation, Inc., a non-profit educational foundation. More details are available on the COIN-OR Foundation page.

Glad you asked! Check out the how to help page for some ideas on getting started.

At its incarnation, COIN-OR was known as the “Common Optimization Interface for OR”. The name (but not the acronym) was later changed to better reflect that COIN-OR is intended to host all types of OR software, not just “optimization” software.

Because there is another open source project which uses the name COIN and someone else already had the url www.coin.org (but don’t go there; it’s been flagged for bad behaviour).

The first paper on COIN-OR that appeared in the literature was in the proceedings of CP-AI-OR 2001. A better reference is the refereed paper in the IBM Journal of Research and Development: Robin Lougee-Heimer. The Common Optimization INterface for Operations Research, IBM Journal of Research and Development, v47(1):57-66, January 2003.