Evaluating Open Source Trends from 2020 to Today

Despite the pandemic, deployment of open source software at the enterprise level has accelerated over the last two years and is expected to continue increasing over time. EPAM tracks contributions to the open source community by individuals and companies, and all indicators point to the continued expansion of open source solutions and adoptions by CIOs as a key element of their digital strategies.

EPAM’s Open Source Contributor Index (OSCI) was created by EPAM with two goals in mind. First, to recognize and celebrate the forward-thinking organizations that contribute to open source. Second, to clearly illustrate the scope and trajectory of the open source community. Since 2016, OSCI has been tracking contributions from commercial organizations to provide a more holistic picture of the current state and trends in enterprise open source. We are excited to share our latest findings around open source.

OSCI Activity From 2019-2021

Over the last two years, leading technology companies Microsoft, Google, Red Hat, Intel and IBM had the most active contributors (or employees contributing 10+ commits to GitHub per month) in the world. While these companies are the most fervent corporate users of open source, they continue to lead by example, giving back to the community by open sourcing their projects and contributing thousands of commits per month.

While the leading technology companies tend to dominate in terms of active contributors and total contributions, these numbers don’t paint the entire picture. The vast and ever-growing enterprise open source community is comprised of thousands of firms; within this community, you will find several smaller organizations making a substantial impact on open source software.

For example, Mozilla, the creator of the widely known internet application Mozilla Firefox, was ranked 19th overall in active contributors in 2020. Mozilla had approximately 750 employees in 2020 and the OSCI reports that Mozilla had 436 active contributors throughout the year, suggesting that around 57% of Mozilla’s employees were actively contributing to open source in 2020. To put that in perspective, roughly 4% of Google’s employees actively contributed to open source in 2020, as per the OSCI. Numerous other smaller companies like GitHub and Canonical also saw over 40% of employees actively contributing to open source this past year.

With less than 3,000 employees each, GitHub, Mozilla and Canonical have all managed to achieve higher levels of employee contribution as a percentage of employee population than industry leaders. How do they do this? They keep open source at the core of their business model, using the framework to guide company culture, development processes and all product offerings. These companies have shown that an open source focused business model can be highly efficient, innovative and lucratively commercialized. But more importantly perhaps, they are a testament to the fact that all companies, regardless of size, can make a substantial impact on open source projects and drive a more collaborative and innovative future.

The impacts of COVID-19 were felt across a wide range of industries. However, OSCI indicates no significant impact on total enterprise open source contributions during the pandemic. In the face of a global pandemic, the world’s increased reliance on “digital” allowed tech firms to survive, continuing business as usual, and in some cases, even thrive. Our takeaway? Tech organizations and open source software are highly agile, adaptable and resilient to unexpected change like we saw in the pandemic.

Enterprise Open Source Adoption Rises at the Expense of Proprietary Software

In the next two years, RedHat expects that enterprise adoption of open source software will increase by 8% while the use of proprietary software will decrease 10%. Rapid changes like these are rare, which indicates that enterprises are quickly catching onto the value open source has to offer and acting on it. Reasons for this rapid adoption of open source include accelerated innovation, avoidance of capital expenditures associated with proprietary products, reduced vendor lock-in and the opportunity for greater flexibility and long-term sustainability with open source software.

RedHat – The State of Enterprise Open Source

Some Organizations Remain Cautious of Open Source Software

RedHat interviewed 950 IT leaders and discovered a few reasons enterprises remain skeptical of open source software. Topping the list were concerns about the security of code, the level of support, compatibility of the software and the lack of internal skills to manage and support it.

RedHat – The State of Enterprise Open Source

With any software solution, open source or not, IT leaders will always be cautious about these four areas of focus, so these concerns seem to reflect IT risk management related to all software implementation projects and not solely open source. In fact, security of the code, the biggest concern about open source among IT leaders, is one of the biggest benefits of using open source software over proprietary solutions.

EPAM’s Open Source Involvement

At EPAM, we are strong advocates of open source, open innovation and open collaboration. We have witnessed first-hand the excellence and value the open source community has to offer, and continue to look for ways to contribute. With over 70 of our own projects released to the open source community and a commitment to encouraging employees to give back through our contributions reward program, we hope to elevate the impact of open source software and drive global innovation into the future.

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