Why Do Developers Contribute Code as Open Source?

outercurveFrom the ‘Why We Fight’ files:

There are a lot of obvious reasons, why open source makes sense. This isn’t a new topic, but every so often another ‘new’ survey emerges that reminds us of the core fundamentals.

This time it’s a new survey from the Outercurve Foundation — which used to be known as the CodePlex Foundation – aka. the Microsoft sponsored open source foundation. But no, don’t worry, no FUD mongering here, Outercurve is solidly in the open source camp.

The study found that 90 percent of their survey respondents were using open source. The top reason why? 80 percent said it saves time and money.

So why contribute?

Apparently it’s not just about scratching the ‘itch’ as I firmly believe. Rather 44 percent of respondents to the Outercurve study said they contributed their stuff as open source, “… to improve their careers and credibility.”

That’s right open source is good for your career. But hey you knew that already right? (heck without open source, I wouldn’t have a career let alone one that I could improve.)

Beyond that developers are also of course contributing for the ‘itch’ as well.

“We think it’s significant to note half of respondents contribute back to open source because they want to improve the projects they rely on,” said Paula Hunter, executive director of the Outercurve Foundation in a statement. “We’ve seen this positive energy and commitment to open source in a number of the foundation’s projects.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter

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