Almost two-thirds of software companies contributing to open source

Open source’s march toward preeminence in business software continued over the past year, according to a survey released today by open source management provider Black Duck Software and venture capital firm North Bridge.

Roughly two-thirds of respondents to the survey – which was administered online and drew 1,300 respondents – said that their companies encouraged developers to contribute to open-source projects, and a similar proportion said that they were actively engaged in doing so already. That’s a 5% increase from the previous year’s survey.

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North Bridge general partner Paul Santinelli said that open source is a huge part of what’s keeping the technology sector moving today. His firm’s valuations of its open-source holdings have risen 86% in year-on-year terms, to $1.3 billion in total.

“Open source today is unequivocally the engine of innovation,” he said in a statement. “[W]hether that’s powering technology like operating systems, cloud, big data or IoT, or powering a new generation of open source companies delivering compelling solutions to the market.”

About 60 percent of respondents said that open-source participation is a competitive advantage, and roughly a third said they had full-time resources dedicated to open-source projects, the survey found. Increasingly, open-source software is viewed as highly competitive on features, in addition to having lower total cost of ownership and the ability to avoid vendor lock-in.

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While the survey’s results provide a quantified view of the phenomenon, it’s been clear for a long time that open source is an increasingly central part of the business tech industry. Facebook, Google, and even Microsoft, for years the open-source world’s designated hate object, have all released large chunks of code under open-source licenses and devoted developer resources to various projects. It’s no wonder that more and more companies are working to become part of the community.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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