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Open Source Participation Down In 2020: Digital Ocean Report

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DigitalOcean has announced the results of its latest Currents report, which surveys developers and entrepreneurs on the latest trends in technology. Of the more than 9,500 developers surveyed, the report focused on the 4,440 responses of those who actively participated in open source throughout 2020.

The survey revealed the role that open source played in the lives of its members in what was a year unlike any other, and explored whether the core tenets of open source – “free” and “open” – still hold today.

While overall participation in open source was down in 2020, 63% of those who actively participated reported an increase in their activity.

According to those respondents, the increase can be attributed to three factors: 29% had “more free time”; 28% wanted to “use the time to learn”; and 15% were “adamant about contributing to a cause they cared about”.

Respondents reported an increased focus on mental health, inclusivity, networking to help others find new jobs, and mentoring to help others learn; 29% are helping community members learn and develop their skills. This while 17% are contributing to mission-oriented projects, such as those focused on pandemic relief or social issues.

Respondents believe individuals should be paid for open source contributions, but few actually are being compensated; 54% of respondents feel that individuals should be paid for their work with open source.

Meanwhile, only 14% of respondents are currently paid for their open source contributions.

Moreover, 59% of respondents believe open source is inclusive to people of all demographics, experience levels, and locations. However, respondents who are women, non-binary, or caregivers reported lower levels of inclusivity.