Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interesting TidBits From Accenture Survey About Use of Open Source

In a recent survey compiled by Accenture, it was found that 29% of companies that utilize open source software actually contribute code back to the open source community. Meanwhile, a survey done by Zenoss found that 98% of companies utilize open source software in some capacity. A good overview of the results can be found in a PCMag.com article found here. From my vantage point, both numbers are a little interesting. I am a little surprised that the number of companies that utilize open source software is as high as 98%. There is no question that adoption of open source software continues to thrive, but 98% is a very large number. At the same time, I am surprised that 29% of companies actually contribute back. That seems high to me as well. In a majority of our searches, much greater than 71%, these companies have no plans of contributing back to the open source community. Thus, the ongoing challenge that has persisted for years. Without question, more companies have realized the benefits of contributing back to the open source community over the years, but there is still a long way to go.

Where this gets interesting, from our perspective, is in recruiting. I do not believe companies are fully aware of how their lack of contribution back to the community affects their attraction and retention of candidates. Of the most talented engineers that we come across, a majority make it a stipulation of their job search that the position allow them to contribute code to the community. Therefore, does the company that disallows such contribution put it at a competitive disadvantage? From my standpoint, it is a definitive yes. Therefore, I believe that companies will continue to wise up and realize this phenomenon, but there are still many hurdles to get over . Meanwhile, the companies with a progressive open source contribution game plan will continue to gain a competitive advantage over their counterparts in the attraction of the most talented engineers in the marketplace.

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