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InfoQ Homepage News DigitalOcean Survey Results Reveal the State of Open Source

DigitalOcean Survey Results Reveal the State of Open Source


Survey results released by DigitalOcean show that a majority of developers now invest in open source, while their employers fail to do so. 55% of respondents contribute to open source in a variety of ways, but only 25% of companies donate greater than $1000 annually, and 66% of companies don't offer time for employees to work on open source projects.

Cloud provider DigitalOcean runs this developer survey quarterly, and focused this edition entirely on the state of open source. Over 4,300 individual responded, with 60% coming from companies with 100 or fewer employees. Of the 55% of respondents contributing to open source, 60% of those contribute to existing open source projects. 16% maintain their own projects, and 14% file issues against projects. Why are developers participating in open source? According to the survey, they're motivated to improve their coding skills, join a community, and learn new technology. These developers primary use JavaScript (62%) when engaging with open source, with Python a close second at 52%. Go and C# are rarely used, by 16% and 10%, respectively.

Developers are mostly working in open source on their own time. While 66% of developers using open source engage at least once a week, just 34% can use company time to do so. And only a small number of companies (18%) contribute to open source foundations, with 75% donating less than $1000 annually to open source efforts.  However, only 30% of developers say that company sponsorship gets in the way of their contribution. Bigger barriers to engagement include not knowing where to start (45%) and lack of confidence in their skills (44%). 

Nearly three quarter of developers surveyed say that their company expects them to use open source software to do their job. When deciding what projects to use, their companies place a premium on widely adopted technology (63%) with good documentation (48%) and active maintainers (42%). While companies prefer healthy open source projects, they also keep a close eye on the project's track record on security. Nearly 70% of developers think open source software is better than average when it comes to security, but it remains one of the top four considerations for selection.

Survey respondents indicated that they're most excited about open source projects such as React.js, Kubernetes, Docker, and Linux, and Tensorflow. Google's contribution to open source hasn't gone unnoticed by these developers—53% think Google embraces open source the most. Microsoft comes in second at 23%, with Amazon (4%) and Apple (1%) lagging behind.

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