Eighty-five percent of open source contributors expect companies to be involved with the open source movement according to SlashData’s “State of the Developer Nation Q4 2019.” But, when asked about specifics, only 44% of contributors think companies should contribute and provide support to open source communities.
Does this mean companies should finance independent developers or have their own employees work on community projects? Believers in open source business models desperately want the former to be true. Yet, a more realistic goal is for companies to encourage their developers to spend part of the workday contributing to open source, whether or not a project is managed internally by the company itself.
Of the 17,000 developers surveyed, 59% contribute to open source software and 41% do not. Remarkably, two-thirds of the non-contributing developers still expect companies to support the open source movement to some degree. This is a reminder that many developers consume open source without actually giving back.
If you have opinions about the components of good open source corporate citizenship, please take our survey on open source in the enterprise. In partnership with The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group and co-sponsored by VMware, the third annual survey, which is open for responses right now, looks at the effectiveness of Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs) and policies that govern open software development.
When asked why developers contribute, they offered a wide range of reasons, from skill development to resolving a bug or building a new feature onto an existing project. Only 3% say they are actually paid to contribute, although most contributions to the biggest cloud native projects come from tech company employees.
Feature image is a photo of comedians Terry Thomas and Red Skeleton via Pixabay.