What's Driving Companies to Launch Open-Source Programs

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What's Driving Companies to Launch Open-Source Programs

The majority of organizations—and nearly three-quarters of large enterprises—have either launched a formal open-source program or plan to do so, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation. The programs are intended to improve code needed for both internal purposes and for external, commercial products. They also encourage a stronger “open-source culture,” with increased recruitment of developers to work on these projects. As a result, IT expects to benefit through faster, more efficient code production. Nearly 750 engineers, developers and additional IT professionals—as well as non-IT C-level execs/managers—took part in the research. The following slide show presents survey highlights, with charts provided courtesy of the Linux Foundation.

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Open-Source Programs Proliferate

More than one-half of all companies either have a formal open-source program or are planning to launch one. Among large enterprises (with more than 10,000 employees), this adoption/planned adoption rate increases to 74 percent.

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Open Source Drives Internal Efforts

Four of five organizations with an existing open-source programs use open source code for noncommercial or internal reasons. In contrast, only 67 percent of those with no plans to start an open-source programs do this, and just 64 percent of those planning to launch an open-source program do.

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Adopters Likelier to Contribute Code Upstream

Among enterprises with an existing open-source program, 44 percent contribute code upstream. But only 7 percent of those with no plans to start an open-source program do this, and just 5 percent of those planning to start one do.

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Developers Rise in Demand

Among organizations with an existing open-source program, 37 percent recruit and hire developers to work on open-source projects. Yet, only 17 percent of those planning to start such a program are recruiting developers for this, and just 8 percent of those with no such plans are.

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Companies Seek to Cultivate Culture Change

When asked about the roles that their open-source programs perform, 77 percent of respondents with an existing program said these initiatives foster an open-source culture within the organization. Three-quarters said the efforts help oversee open-source license compliance reviews.

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Programs Intended to 'Own' Strategy

Another key role for open-source programs is to “own” an open-source strategy, as cited by 73 percent of respondents with an existing program. The same percentage also indicated that the open-source program enables team members to communicate the open-source strategy both within and outside the company.

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Businesses Take 'Inside/Out' Approach to Open Source

Among organizations overall, 72 percent “frequently” use open source code for internal reasons. And 55 percent “frequently” use open source code for commercial products.

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Strategy Requirements Bring Struggles

In ranking the biggest challenges of establishing an open-source program, 54 percent of respondents who are planning to adopt a program cited strategy-related issues, such as planning a strategy. Just over one-third cited the need to set an open-source policy, as well as the need to gain executive support/buy-in.

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Quality of Culture Looms Large

Among companies with an existing open-source program, 57 percent measure success by the quality of their company’s open-source culture. One-half of those planning such a program intend to use this as a key success metric.

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Need for Speed Prevails

Among organizations with an existing open-source program, 44 percent measure success by their developers’ velocity, efficiency and/or productivity. Nearly two of five of those planning such a program intend to use this as a key success metric as well.

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Project teams are wasting nine weeks a year due to collaboration issues—but IT can help eliminate this via the acquisition and deployment of much-needed project planning and dashboard solutions.
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