DigitalOcean, the cloud services platform designed for developers brings out key developer cloud trends through its quarterly Currents report. In the fifth edition of Currents, they focused entirely on open source, to coincide with the movement’s 20-year anniversary. They asked more than 4,300 respondents around the world about the state of open source, including how they and their companies use it and what inspires them to support the community.
The following are some key findings from the report:
- Twenty years in, just over half of developers surveyed are contributing to open source projects (55 percent). However, that is less than what companies expect from their employees: three out of four respondents said their companies expect them to use open source software as part of their day-to-day development work.
- Two of the most prominent barriers preventing developers from getting involved in open source are not knowing where to begin, and doubting they have the right skills. Companies not giving their employees time to contribute is also a large factor.
- Of the five major tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — developers overwhelmingly said Google is most supportive of the open source community, followed by Microsoft. Apple ranked last.
- There’s a disconnect between companies’ encouragement of open source within their organizations, and their actual investment. Only 18 percent of respondents said their company is a member of an open source-related organization, and 75 percent said their company invests $1k or less every year in donations to open source.
- Newer developers actively contribute more to open source than veteran developers: While 55 percent of respondents said they actively contribute to open source projects, developers with five or fewer years of experience were significantly more likely to contribute (60 percent) than developers with six or more years of experience. This participation boost from newer developers aligns with the overall perception that the open source community is healthy and growing (89 percent).
Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Director, DigitalOcean India says “This year marks both the 20th anniversary of the open source movement, as well as the 5th year of Hacktoberfest, our annual month-long celebration of open source. DigitalOcean Currents highlights the latest trends among developers in the cloud and our latest edition carries interesting insights on the potential of open source software”.
- Developers want an easier entry point into the open source community: 45% of developers listed “difficulty knowing how to get started” as the primary barrier preventing them from contributing to open source projects. Other key challenges included developers feeling they don’t have the right skills to contribute (44%) & companies not offering time for employees to contribute (30%).
- Companies expect developers to use open source technologies at work, but don’t invest as much in the broader community: Nearly three out of every four respondents said their companies expect them to use open source software as part of their day-to-day development work, but only 18 percent of employees said their companies actively participated in open source organizations (e.g. Apache Foundation, Node.js Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation). The cost of participating in these organizations is the biggest barrier (38 percent), and 75 percent of respondents said their companies also donated just $1k or less to these organizations in the last year.
- Companies evaluating open source technologies look primarily for ones that are widely used, and have great documentation and active maintainers. At the same time, poor documentation and security concerns are a few reasons why companies opt against open source.
The following is the complete DigitalOcean Currents Report.