September 26, 2018

Open Source Culture Starts with Programs and Policies

More than anything, open source programs are responsible for fostering “open source culture,” according to a survey The New Stack conducted with The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group. By creating an open source culture, companies with open source programs see the benefits we’ve previously reported, including increased speed and agility in the development cycle, better licence compliance and more awareness of which open source projects a company’s products depend on.

But what is open source culture, why is it important and how do we measure it? Based on survey data and reporting from this summer’s Open Source Summit, we believe open source programs support a corporate culture that prioritizes DevOps and microservices architecture, and enables developers to quickly use and participate in internal and external projects. It’s no longer sufficient to measure a company’s open source culture by counting what percentage of their technology stack is open source. Businesses interested in improved developer efficiency should examine their participation in open source projects and support a culture that nurtures code sharing and collaboration on externally maintained projects.

Defining Open Source Culture

Open source culture is more than just reusing free code on GitHub to get products to market faster. It is is an ethos that values sharing. The culture embraces an approach to software development that emphasizes internal and external collaboration, an increasing focus on core competencies instead of core infrastructure, and implementation of DevOps processes commonly associated with microservices and cloud native technologies.

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