The Most Important Players in the Open Source Ecosystem
We wanted to know who is having the biggest influence in the open source community, so we asked some industry experts for their thoughts.
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To gather insights on the current and future state of open source software (OSS), we talked to 31 executives. This is nearly double the number we speak to for a research guide and believe this reiterates the popularity of, acceptance of, and demand for OSS.
We began by asking, "Who are the most important players in the Open Source ecosystem?" Here's what they told us:
- This is a question that will have a wide array of answers for us. The most important player is Docker, followed by Microsoft, and then Google. However, Apache is probably the most important, given their number of libraries and projects.
Big Tech Companies
1) Kubernetes given its rapid adoption as an IT and developer solution. 2) OpenStack foundation and community. 3) The range of DevOps tools like Ansible, Puppet, and Chef. 4) Fission serverless functions for Kubernetes.
Everyone follows Red Hat. Also, MySQL, MongoDB, and Maria DB.
- Linux, Google and Microsoft would probably be some of the most important players in the open source ecosystem. Linux founded the open source foundation. RedHat is interesting because they were the first to truly monetize open source. Microsoft and Google have made vast contributions to the open source community. Microsoft has really jumped on the open source bandwagon and has started contributing significantly.
- 1) Big tech companies that open source components they have developed for themselves but are happy to share with others even without generating any business out of that, since they are not giving away their core business IP. Examples include Google, Facebook, Netflix and many more. 2) Software companies that do open source their core business IP, however, have built a vital business by offering additional features and/or support to those who are using their open source technology. The more technical the product’s primary audience and the more the products focus on infrastructure components, the better this business model works. Examples include Elastic, Confluent and Camunda. 3) Open Source collaboration platforms such as GitHub provide the necessary forum for anyone participating in the ecosystem, including students who code for fun or highly paid senior software engineers working for huge companies. Without these platforms, the aforementioned dynamics of developer passion, community recognition and commercial leverage would not happen.
- It would be easy to say that the most important players are the big firms like Google and Red Hat that create, publish and maintain a lot of open source. These companies are valuable, of course. However, I actually have a great deal of respect for web-scale companies like Netflix, Twitter, Lyft or Facebook who innovate and then share their projects with the open-source community. While we would think of these firms as software companies, their end-users are largely not technologists, so it’s harder to justify publishing open-source software to the “business”. That they have been able to do so has given us great tools like Apache Thrift (Facebook), Spinnaker (Netflix) and Envoy (Lyft).
- All the corporations with big money are important players, just like in the old days. Check the top 5 public companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet/Google) they're all tech companies and all of them have some significant presence in the world of open source. The cool thing about open source is the long tail of small companies, research institutions, and individuals that co-innovate and disrupt technology right alongside the giants. Open source has changed the tech innovation game for the better.
Developers. They’re making open source stronger every year. Your impact is determined by your contributions – writers and users alike.
- The community of contributors. The people who see potential improvements to a project then build new features that everyone can benefit from are the force that keeps a project moving forward. Just as valuable are users who will discuss their use cases in public, be it in the form of a blog post or a conference presentation so that potential users can understand how exactly to apply a technology to common problems. It’s common for companies to form around popular open source technologies. These companies often invest lots of time and resources into growing the community, supporting users who have questions, and of course, working on the software.
- Every maintainer. Every contributor. Every answerer of an issue.
- I do not believe that any one player is more important than the other in the open source ecosystem. Each player in the ecosystem is pushing the other players to be better. This includes everyone from contributors to the open source programs, to the customers that use and work to operationalize the software in real-life business events.
- The most important players in the open source ecosystem are the high school and college students who are currently learning computer science with open source software and projects, instead of proprietary software, which was previously the status quo, 10 years ago. These students will carry over their education in open source into their professional lives, and we’re going to see more applications built with open source.
Here’s who shared their insights with us:
- Anthony Calamito, Chief Geospatial Officer, Boundless
- Jakob Freund, CEO, Camunda
- Pete Chestna, Director of Developer Engagement, CA Veracode
- Julian Dunn, Director of Product Marketing, Chef
- Matt Ingenthron, Senior Director of SDK Engineering, Couchbase
- Stephan Ewen, co-founder and CTO, data Artisans
- Amol Kekre, Co-founder and Field CTO, DataTorrent
- OJ Ngo, Co-founder and CTO, DH2i
- Stefano Maffulli, Director of Community, DreamHost
- Kelly Stirman, CMO and VP Strategy, Dremio
- Konstantin Boudnik, CTO Big Data and Open Source Fellow, EPAM
- Tyler McMullen, CTO, Fastly
- Jeff Luszsz, VP of Product Management, Flexera
- Angel Diaz, V.P. Developer Technology and Advocacy, IBM
- Ben Slater, Chief Product Officer, Instaclustr
- Grant Ingersoll, CTO, Lucidworks
- C J Silverio, CTO, npm
- Mark Gamble, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Analytics, OpenText
- Francis Dhina, CEO, OpenVPN
- Sirish Raghuram, CEO and Co-founder, Platform9
- Neil Cresswell, Co-Founder, Portainer.io
- Lars Knoll, CTO, Qt
- Brad Adelberg, Vice President of Engineering, Sauce Labs
- Giorgio Regni, CTO, Scality
- Dor Laor, CEO, ScyllaDB
- Harsh Upreti, Product Marketing Manager, API Products, SmartBear
- Jean-Baptiste Onofre, Technical Fellow and Software Architect, Talend
- Antony Edwards, CTO, Testplant
- Matt Ellis, Architect, TIBCO Software
- Karthik Ranganathan, Co-founder and CTO, YugaByte
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