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Corporate Open Source Programs are on the Rise as Shared Software Development Becomes Mainstream for Businesses

A new survey by The Linux Foundation and The New Stack reveals that open source programs are critical to the success of engineering and product teams

SAN FRANCISCO, August 30, 2018 – Formal open source programs are quickly becoming a best practice for companies in the technology, telecom/media and financial services industries according to the 2018 Open Source Program Management Survey released today by The Linux Foundation in collaboration with the TODO Group and The New Stack. More than half (53%) of the companies surveyed say their organization has an open source software program or has plans to establish one within the next year.

“Almost every organization today uses open source code and it has become table stakes for most businesses, even though it’s not always fully understood at the executive or strategic level,” said Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and Co-Founder of the TODO Group at The Linux Foundation. “The results of the Open Source Program Management Survey point to a growing awareness by decision makers of the need for formal open source programs and policies to manage how open source code is used and produced, as well as an increasing understanding of how it can be strategically integrated into a company’s business plans.”

The 2018 Open Source Program Management Survey examines the prevalence and outcomes of open source programs among the Global Fortune 2000 including the key benefits and barriers to adoption.

Key findings include:

  • Open source use has become commonplace among tech and non-tech companies alike with 72% of companies frequently using open source for non-commercial or internal reasons and 55% using open source for commercial products.

  • Open source programs are very critical or extremely critical to the success of engineering and product teams according to 59% of respondents with an open source program.

  • The top three benefits of managing an open source program are awareness of open source usage/dependencies, increased developer agility/speed, and better license compliance.

  • Large companies are about twice as likely to run an open source program than smaller companies (63 percent vs. 37 percent).

  • Open source programs tend to start informally as a working group or a few key open source developers and then evolve into formal programs over time, typically within a company’s software engineering or development department (about 41 percent of programs).

  • The benefits of an open source program are widely known, with 70% of those without a program believing it would have a positive impact in their company, despite any barriers to creating it.

A successful open source program can greatly benefit corporate open source use by establishing processes that enable developers and their teams and encouraging standard coding and organizational practices, processes, and toolsets. The TODO Group, a group of companies within The Linux Foundation that collaborates on best practices for open source programs, has developed a set of open source best practices to help developers and decision makers become more productive and more structured in how they manage the open source software their businesses rely on.

More detailed findings and information about the methodology is available here.

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and industry adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at

The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see our trademark usage page:

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

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