The development of open source is accelerating globally, and individuals and organizations are displaying an unparalleled passion for contributing to open source. According to the “2020 IT Industry Project Management Survey Report”, around 40% of the interviewees regularly participate in open source projects in various forms. Some are developing open source projects on their own, while others are contributing to the projects for others, developing and maintaining projects as members, and donating open source projects.
Developing and managing those widely used open-source projects may take thousands of hours each year. Why would programmers be willing to spend time, find open source libraries, find packages and also put effort into writing these free and public codes? Why are large organizations willing to let their employees write open source codes so that other businesses and even competitors can use them? What will an individual developer gain by participating in open source?
Why do individuals want to open source?
- Improve code quality
Participating in open source projects is an excellent way to improve personal coding quality. But, frankly, it is known to arouse developers’ “shame”. Once it is evident that these codes are to be made public, they will consciously modify the code neater and cleaner as well as add more comments. On the other hand, if the project has a certain degree of influence, other budding developers will also provide input. This helps programmers learn from others’ strengths, invisibly restrict their code specifications, and improve the quality of their code.
- Display personal skills:
An hour interview is not enough to show some of the underlying basics or cutting-edge knowledge you have. However, if you are involved in an open-source project, it can display the quality of the code from your long-term code. Moreover, participating in an open-source project also shows your love for technology.
This will be an added advantage. Developers who are involved in notable open-source projects have never lacked work. The experience of open source projects helps achieve broader career opportunities and expands the career development space to the next level.
- Build a personal brand
Similar to the above two items, code quality improvement and resume bonus items will all add to the same achievement: building personal influence and building a personal brand. Nowadays, most of the active experts are often top engineers who have formerly worked in multinational companies. They have gained popularity and prestige in the software community with their open source contributions, got rid of the company label, and successfully built their personal brand.
Why should corporations participate in open source?
- Improve code and functions
Most businesses and individuals start their open source journey from the project they are currently working on. Their primary purpose is to make the project/software more perfect and convenient for their own use. Also, sometimes they create the tools from scratch and open-source them, this process is usually known as “making wheels”. This part of the improved feature, of course, can be used without submitting, but it is necessary to share in order to maximize benefits. Since when you don’t contribute to your own project, you may face the risk that these features will no longer work in the updated version.
- Gain competitive and recruitment advantages
In the small world of developers, open-source is not a noble thing, but the overall image is indeed a positive one. Open source generally means that a company is ready to create an ecosystem with the help of other companies and individual programmers. Generally speaking, such companies tend to embrace openness. Therefore, participating in open source projects can help improve the organization’s reputation and attract like-minded professional programmers to develop together.
In addition, this behavior can also help change and enhance the organization’s reputation, brand image, as well as reputation among programmers. One of the significant advantages of such a culture is that it is conducive to recruiting and retaining talents.
- Open source business models directly profits
Open source programs do not conflict with commerce. The primary purpose of open-source programs is to share, but not to do charity. Usually, they follow a different profit model, which includes technical support, advanced functions, training, cloud services, and other charging methods.
Various software and different fields employ different profit-generating models. However, the basis of all models is the same, the number of users. An open-source project can only become profitable when it attains a specific number of users.
For companies to develop a profitable open-source program, they need the participation of more people, enriching software functions, reducing software defects, and at the same time preventing a few developers from opening loopholes in the software. Organizations are free to make a profit from open source business models directly, and open source software will eventually feedback the business. This allows capitalist companies to provide users with better products with enhanced functions.
The rose’s in her hand, the flavor in mine. The most beautiful thing about open source is that programmers don’t have to spend their time solving the same problem. There always will be some developer who has already solved the issue you are stuck with. Similarly, when you see that your project is transforming the lives of others, a sense of accomplishment is achieved.
There are endless reasons or benefits of participating in open source programs. In addition to the factors mentioned above, various psychological reasons include reduced development costs, supporting open-source values, promoting industry standards, and even simply enjoying the open source fun or giving back to open source projects. Initially, the “motivation” to join an open source development project can be “impure”, and lack obscurity and selfless dedication. Here, participation means contribution. The development of the open source field is very close to the heart of developers, and there is always a guarantee of further joy.
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