Digital Transformation

The State of Enterprise Open Source

Why vendor contribution to open source matters

Last year, for the first time in this annual survey, we asked IT leaders if they cared whether their vendors contributed to open source projects.

We were not sure what the result would be. However, we suspected responses would be somewhere between indifference and mildly positive. We were wrong. In fact, our respondents were overwhelmingly more likely to select vendors who contributed to open source communities.

This year, we asked the question again. Again, the positive response was overwhelming, with a total of 82% almost evenly split between saying they were “much more likely” and “somewhat more likely” to select a contributing vendor.

While Red Hat understands the many benefits our customers (and more broadly, the open source community) gain when we and others contribute to upstream communities, we also wondered why the IT leaders we surveyed cared. So we asked them.

Responses were roughly evenly split among the choices provided. Most reflected how full participation in the open source development model by default allows a vendor to build expertise and to otherwise influence development roadmaps in ways that benefit users directly.

At the same time, we were pleased to see that one top response identified the value of contribution as helping “sustain healthy open source communities.” Sustainability is perhaps a subtler point than the first-order benefits. It is gratifying to see that so many respondents appreciate the importance of healthy open source projects.

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