The software industry is almost 100 years old. It has proven itself to be one of the most unpredictable, evolving, and fast-paced industries around the world. That’s due to the fact that the industry is being driven by some of the most intelligent individuals everywhere.
This industry doesn’t respect tradition, it evolves and mutates and adjusts and corrects itself on daily basis — continuing to honor the sense of innovation and preferring it over tradition.
As a part of the evolution that happens in our industry, the newer generations of engineers have started to wholistically look at the origins of our industry, and what drives innovation to push the needle forward for humanity in the technological era.
And as a result of this understanding of where we started, where we are today and where we are headed — a realization has emerged out of all of these events. Which is the fact that the more we share our knowledge, practices, and findings with the rest of the world, the more likely for us to find better solutions to more complex problems.
Open source and Open Data initiatives are the manifestation of that. A manifestation of breaking the silos and allowing the world to share its knowledge to expedite the process of development and innovation globally.
I’ve been recently researching the benefits of open-source software/data from different aspects and here’s my findings.
From a business perspective, open-source software allows tremendous amount of highly trained and highly intelligent engineers to engage in the software being developed at no cost whatsoever. Some of these engineers would be even impossible to hire to contribute to said projects at any cost if it wasn’t an open-source project.
But additionally, open-source projects attract multiple types of businesses that are interested in the privacy and security of the platforms they integrate with. Having the code out there in public allows these partners to ensure their data and their integrations are safe and secure.
In fact, partners who integrate with open-source projects are willing to contribute to the codebase of said project to fix issues and vulnerabilities they might be experiencing from their side at no cost at all.
These partnerships proves that open-source software is a critical enabler of IT agendas. A study published by Perforce in April 2021 states that organizations increasingly turn to OSS to power digital transformation and drive efficiencies, flexibility, and interoperability within their market.
Aside from being able to expedite what would be a very expensive investment by open sourcing software. Companies or organizations that open source their platforms tend to attract the right talent in the industry. Mainly engineers who don’t just practice engineering for money. But those who have devoted years of their lives to a craft they are passionate about and willing to move the needle in some of the most critical issues in said platforms.
The software industry today lacks enough talent to drive the demand of digitization across the board. This scarcity of talented engineers makes it even harder to become more appealing to the few that have many options to go elsewhere in terms of employment. Companies that offer open-source projects allow these talented engineers to get a firsthand in-depth look at the projects they would be working on before making the decision to join the organization.
It also opens the door for discovering talented engineers from the contributions track on the project. It makes it much easier to find the exact right talent to contribute and make impact on any project from day 1 by simply looking at their existing contributions before joining the organization.
Turnover & Attrition
OSS eliminates the uncertainty of attrition risk. Open-source projects driven by teams that are very transparent about their goals and the codebase they are working with are more likely to have the lowest attritions rates as it phases out the possibility of engineers leaving the team due to the technology or engineering processes.
Open-source projects also ensures the engineers working on these projects that their contributions are tracked, documented, and recognized on a global scale. This level of recognition and transparency boosts tremendously the morale of the engineers on the team and increases their trust that their organizations are working towards their best benefit by allowing them to daily build their portfolio publicly as engineers.
Engineers who work on open-source projects and receive feedback from OSS community about their contributions are more likely to be exposed to newer patterns, technologies, and methodologies to solve problems within their system which increases their learning and growth and inevitably feel there’s more value for them in their day-to-day jobs that just the material benefits.
On the other hand, engineers who work on open-source projects become extra focused and aware that their contributions are going to publicly available which encourages them to spend extra time and effort in ensuring the code is at its highest levels of quality, compliance, and security.
Advocacy & Leadership
With the work being publicly available. Open-source projects become a source of inspiration for newer talents in the industry to learn from in terms of coding standards and engineering guidelines. Having collective team of contributors who are pushing the boundaries of innovation in the industry and harnessing the right attention from industry leaders to leverage OSS to solve multitude of similar problems everywhere and creating a higher impact at scale.
Companies that are technology providers help advocate for how to use their own technologies by open sourcing their internal projects to show real-life examples of how these technologies can be leveraged to solve real-life problems.
Which means the OSS helps technology advocates educate the world about these technologies through enterprise-level projects that can easily be cloned, built, and run on any machine to make it even clearer how these technologies can be beneficial to other companies or individuals.
In summary, open sourcing software is an opportunity for both the maintainers and the contributors to grow and benefit one another through continuous contributions towards building a better product. It also pushes the wheel of innovation even further by engaging some of the highest talents in the industry to contribute to these projects and ensures it delivers the highest possible quality in terms of engineering, compliance, and security.
At last, open-source projects directly contribute to higher goals such as the survival of the humankind, it’s evolution and fulfillment. Some of the open-source projects today can be repurposed towards research, schooling and many other fields that can yield even higher impacts than what the original product was intended to make.