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Increasing Open Source Diversity Reflects Growing Global Adoption, Still Much Room To Improve: Study

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According to the Linux Foundation‘s latest LF Research study, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Open Source, the global adoption of open source technologies grows rapidly, so, too, is diversity within open source communities. But there remains a lot of room for growth.

Eighty-two percent of respondents feel welcome in open source, but different groups had different perspectives overall. The 18 percent of those that do not feel welcome are from disproportionately underrepresented groups: people with disabilities, transgender people, and racial and ethnic minorities in North America.

The study revealed that time-related barriers to access and exposure in open source include discretionary and unpaid time, time for onboarding, networking, and professional development, as well as time zones.

Exclusionary behavior has cascading effects on feelings of belonging, opportunities to participate, achieve leadership, and retention. While toxic experiences are generally infrequent, rejection of contributions, interpersonal tensions, stereotyping, and aggressive language are far more frequently experienced by certain groups (2-3 times higher frequency than the study average).

Just 16 percent of students’ universities offer open source as part of their curricula. This, along with unreliable connectivity, geographic, economic, and professional disparities narrow an individual’s opportunity to contribute.

The study also points to societal changes and trends that are impacting DEI in the workplace.

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