Aiven, an open source cloud data platform company, recently analyzed who’s doing what with GitHub open source code projects. They found that the top open source contributors were all companies — Amazon Web Services, Intel, Red Hat, Google, and Microsoft….
Aiven looked at three metrics within the GitHub archives. These were the number of contributors, repositories (projects) contributed to, and the number of commits made by the contributors. These were calculated using Google Big Query analysis of PushEvents on public GitHub data. The company found that Microsoft and Google were neck-and-neck for the top spot. Red Hat is in third place, followed by Intel, then AWS, just ahead of IBM…. Red Hat is following closely behind and is currently contributing more commits than Google, with 125,012 in Q4 2022 compared to Google’s 94,961. Microsoft is ahead of both, with 128,247 commits. However, regarding contributed staff working on projects, Google is leading the way with 5,757 compared to Microsoft’s 5,513 and Red Hat’s 3,656….
Heikki Nousiainen, Aiven CTO and co-founder, commented: “An unexpected result of our research was seeing Amazon overtake IBM to become the fifth biggest contributor.” They “came late to the open source party, but they’re now doubling down on its open source commitments and realizing the benefits that come with contributing to the open source projects its customers use.” So, yes, open source certainly started with individual contributors, but today, and for many years before, it’s company employees that are really making the code….
Aiven is far from the only one to have noticed that companies are now open source’s economic engine. Jonathan Corbet, editor-in-chief of Linux Weekly News (LWN), found in his most recent analysis of Long Term Support Linux Kernel releases from 5.16 to 6.1 that a mere 7.5 percent of the kernel development, as measured by lines changed, came from individual developers. No, the real leaders were, in order: AMD; Intel; Google; Linaro, the main Arm Linux development organization; Meta; and Red Hat.
The article also includes this thought-provoking quote from Aiven CTO’s. “Innovation is at the heart of the open source community, but without a strong commitment from companies, the whole system will struggle.
“We can see that companies are recognizing their role and supporting all who use open source.”