Open-source software (OSS) is more of a household name in 2022 than ever before. Consumers – i.e., those not in tech – are exposed to OSS with more regularity via content management systems, like Drupal, and car, laptop and smartwatch uses supported by Linux. But once you dive into the technology community, specifically the community of the developer, the value of OSS is undeniable. Developers and engineers love the web, want it to succeed, and have a vested interest in building technologies that serve their community’s goals.
OSS projects span a wide list of technology development today from analytics to development and DevOps, to machine learning, website development, and more. In understanding the breadth of development, what exactly is the draw to contribute to the broad community? In other words, what are the advantages of participating in open source projects?
- The good will within the developer community is undeniable. The contribution to function open source communities builds up a lot of company brand awareness, which is incredibly powerful. Red Hat’s annual State of Enterprise Open Source report recently showed 77% of IT leaders have a more positive perception of enterprise open source than they did a year ago and 82% of IT leaders are more likely to select a vendor who contributes to the open-source community. The culture of sharing means that all users get access to the best talent that contributes to the software, rather than being limited to the talent within their organization.
- OSS contributions are the new resume. Specifically, Github is the new resume, but the OSS community creates a new form of recruiting that enables contributors to get noticed and hired. That has obvious benefits for a developer’s personal brand. It also affords significant benefits to employers. Long gone are the days of complex problem solving during the recruitment process. Instead, you can easily look at a prospective employee’s contributions via Github to determine if their contributions are a right fit for the organization.
- Working on OSS offers more creativity and satisfaction for engineers. Contributors get to choose the projects they work on – whether it’s problems that are near and dear to their heart, or problems they feel strongly about finding a solution to. The opportunity that is available via OSS projects often offer more creativity than their respective day jobs. Additionally, that creativity has the opportunity for promotion and public sharing via conferences and meetups to improve the engineer’s personal brand. The culture of sharing within OSS promotes more stistication with career highlights.
While some concerns with OSS include security and enterprise-readiness, the value of OSS is not only in the software, but how the projects are integrated together to form a larger community.
The Red Hat report actually found that 89% of IT leaders see enterprise open source as more secure or as secure as proprietary software and 80% expect to increase their use of enterprise open source software for emerging technologies over the next two years. Keeping software proprietary doesn’t always add value to an organization. Instead, generating goodwill within large developer and engineering communities via reusable code is worth a lot more than any protection can provide.