A 2021 Linux Foundation Research Year in Review


Through LF Research, the Linux Foundation is uniquely positioned to create the definitive repository of insights into open source. By engaging with our community members and leveraging the full resources of our data sources, including a new and improved LFX, we’re not only shining a light on the scope of the projects that comprise much of the open source paradigm but contextualizing their impact. In the process, we’re creating both a knowledge hub and an ecosystem-wide knowledge network. Because, after all, research is a team sport.

Taking inspiration from research on open innovation, LF Research will explore open source amidst the challenges of the current era. These include challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, climate risk, and accelerating digital transformation — all changing what it means to be a technology company or an organization that deeply relies on innovation. By publishing a new suite of research deliverables that aid in strategy formation and decision-making, LF Research intends to create shared value for all stakeholders in our community and inspire greater levels of participation in it. 

Completed Core Research

The 2021 Linux Foundation Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Open Source, produced in partnership with AWS, CHAOSS, Comcast, Fujitsu, GitHub, GitLab, Hitachi, Huawei, Intel, NEC, Panasonic, Red Hat, Renesas, and VMware, seeks to understand the demographics and dynamics concerning overall participation in open source communities and to identify gaps to be addressed, all as a means to advancing inclusive cultures within open source environments. This research aims to drive data-driven decisions on future programming and interventions to benefit the people who develop and ultimately use open source technologies. Enterprise Digital Transformation, Techlash, Political Polarization, Social Media Ecosystem, and Content Moderation are all cited as trends that have exposed and amplified exclusionary narratives and designs, mandating increased awareness, and recalibrating individual and organizational attention. Beyond the survey findings that identify the state of DEI, this research explores a number of DEI initiatives and their efficacy and recommends action items for the entire stakeholder ecosystem to further their efforts and build inclusion by design.

Core Research in Progress

The Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) Readiness Survey (estimated release: Q1 2022), produced in partnership with the Open Source Security Foundation, OpenChain, and SPDX, is the Linux Foundation’s first project in a series designed to explore ways to better secure the software supply chains. With a focus on SBOMs, the findings are based on a worldwide survey of IT professionals who understand their organization’s approach to software development, procurement, compliance, or security. An important driver for this survey is the recent U.S. Executive Order on Cybersecurity, which focuses on producing and consuming SBOMs. 

Completed Project-Focused Research

The Fourth Annual Open Source Program Management (OSPO) Survey, produced In collaboration with the TODO Group and The New Stack, examines the prevalence and outcomes of open source programs, including the key benefits and barriers to adoption.The 2021 State of Open Source in Financial Services Report produced in partnership with FINOS, Scott Logic, Wipro, and GitHub, explores the state of open source in the financial services sector. The report identifies current levels of consumption and contribution of open source software and standards in this industry and the governance, cultural, and aspirational issues of open source among banks, asset managers, and hedge funds.The 2021 Data and Storage Trends Survey, produced in collaboration with the SODA Foundation, identifies the current challenges, gaps, and trends for data and storage in the era of cloud-native, edge, AI, and 5G.The 9th Annual Open Source Jobs Report, produced in partnership with edX, provides actionable insights on the state of open source talent that employers can use to inform their hiring, training, and diversity awareness efforts.

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