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This Week in Numbers: Open Source Policies for Dependencies

26 May 2018 6:00am, by

Have you ever read a survey report that claims that a certain percentage of companies use open source? We think those findings are almost always misleading. Practically every company in the world is using an open source component in their software stack.

A better approach is to assume that a developer has some exposure to open source and to instead ask about their contribution to open source. Using that metric, a recent DZone survey found that only 16 percent of developers are actually contributing to an open source project. Sponsored by GitHub, last year’s Open Source Survey takes a deeper look at developers that are pre-disposed to open source. Almost two-thirds of this group are at least occasional contributors to an open source project. Two surveys and vastly different results.

Looking more closely at the GitHub data, we found that 44 percent these organizations encourage the use of open source applications, often because of its ability to save development time or money. Another 35 percent say it is “acceptable” to use open source if it is the most appropriate tool. There is very little difference between corporate policies towards using open source software as opposed to open source dependencies. In other words, Compliance and other departments are not differentiating between 100 percent open-source end products and proprietary tools that rely on libraries supported by the larger community.

As The New Stack continues to explore ways open source is promoted, we will make sure to focus at a granular level – microservices and smaller – to determine how successful these efforts are.

Feature image by Jonas Lee on Unsplash.


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