The future of open source: 3 discoveries

Although participation in the open source community is high, users are concerned about inclusiveness and the role of big tech in the future open source landscape, DigitalOcean thought.

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The majority (60%) of technical professionals said their involvement in open source has increased for three main reasons: they enjoyed it, they wanted to learn new skills, or they found that their contributions met, a report from DigitalOcean found. The popularity of open source is not a big surprise, because according to the report, the open source market is expected to exceed $ 32 billion in 2023.

DigitalOcean’s seventh annual Currents report has surveyed 5,800 developers worldwide to determine how they felt about the current and future status of the open source community. In general, users are optimistic about the future of open source, but some are worried, the report said.

SEE: How to find files in Linux with grep: 10 examples (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Open source refers to an online project that is publicly accessible for everyone to change and share, as long as they attribute the original developer, TechRepublic contribution Jack Wallen reported in What is open source?.

Since its release more than 20 years ago, open source has changed the internet. Without open source, the online experience would be “a very different place; much more limited, more expensive, less robust, less function-driven and less scalable. Large name companies would also be much less powerful and successful in the absence of open source” software, “Scott wrote Matteson in How to decide whether open source or proprietary software solutions are best for your business.

Looking ahead, open source will continue to be a dominant force, but it may change to address the concerns of developers, the report said.

The future of open source

1. Open source sustainability

Developers love open source and the vast majority (84%) are optimistic about the future. About 64% also believe that open source technology is sustainable because of the dedicated community and large organization-sponsored projects, the report found.

However, 4% did not agree with this and said lack of financing was the main reason. As far as the community aspect is concerned, many developers also had opposing views.

2. The community

Although more than half (58%) of respondents said they found the open source community generally friendly, the community could improve inclusiveness, the report said.

About 25% of women and 11% of men rated the diversity of the open source community as poor or fairly poor, and 75% of women and 58% of men thought diversity was of the utmost importance. This gender inequality reveals that one group may feel more excluded than the other.

Moreover, the open source community appears to be less inclusive for older generations. Almost 60% of respondents older than 45 said they felt excluded due to the negative interactions, while only 23% of respondents younger than 25 said the same.

As the open source community evolves and grows in the future, the community should recognize and prioritize diversity and inclusion for all developers, according to the report.

3. The influence of Big Tech

Major technology companies have set their sights on open source development, with the acquisition by Microsoft of GitHub and the acquisition of IBM by Red Hat. However, developers are concerned about the impact that these technical giants can have on the open source community, the report revealed.

Almost 41% of respondents said they were concerned about the degree of involvement of major technical players in open source. The main concerns they raised were potential self-serving intentions of large corporations, the use of restrictive licenses that give large organizations an unfair competitive advantage and the overall trust of large corporations, the report said.

Across the board, fewer than half of the respondents described the involvement of Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Apple in open source as extremely friendly or even somewhat friendly, according to the report.

Most respondents to the survey were Indian and this demography was most concerned about the involvement of major technology. More than half (51%) were concerned about how large technology companies would influence the open source community, the report found.

For more information, view Enterprise vendors are increasingly dominating the open source software scene on ZDNet.

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