Big Tech & Open Source: Where Is the Love? (2020)

Big Tech is without a doubt very vested in the current open source ecosystem. In fact, if you check the top 10 most popular open source projects on GitHub, you’ll find most of them originate from Big Tech such as; Google, Microsoft and Facebook! Also, interestingly, these projects are being developed by a large army of talented engineers working outside Big Tech - even though to some extent, Big Tech can exercise some control over the future direction of the projects. Let’s checkout the following concrete examples below by the number of contributors:

  1. Microsoft/vscode – Microsoft (19.1k contributors)

  2. MicrosoftDocs/azure-docs – Microsoft (14k contributors)

  3. Flutter – Google (13k contributors)

  4. TensorFlow – Google (9.9k contributors)

  5. React-native – Facebook (9.1k contributors)

  6. Kubernetes – Google (6.9k contributors)

  7. Ansible (by Red Hat) – IBM (6.8K contributors)

We also have the intriguing case of Amazon, a Big Tech member that is a leader in cloud computing infrastructure space via Amazon Web Services (AWS). However, that has been fiercely criticized by commercial open source spin outs & their investors, asserting that Amazon is unfairly making it harder for these spin outs to find sustainable business models by offering competing hosted services on AWS. Similarly, some notable open source startups that have clashed with Amazon recently include; Confluent, MongoDB and Redis Labs. These companies ended up tweaking their open source licence model to try to protect their revenue streams from Big Tech giants like Amazon.

Open Source Sentiment Score (2020)

In collaboration with our team at Kähler Insights, we tweaked our Adhoc open source sentiment score for Big Tech derived from work we’ve previously developed score. This sentiment metric computes a score (0 – 10) based on sentiment analysis from various sources such as; developer surveys, GitHub, GitLab, Stackoverflow, Twitter, HackerNoon and Hacker News.

The companies featured in our analysis are Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. According to our 2020 analysis, first place goes to Google with an excellent score (9.8), second place goes to Microsoft (9.3), followed by Facebook (8.1) in third place. On the other hand, Amazon got a very disappointing score (5.6) which was not really a surprise given the recent backlash the company received from hardcore and vocal online open source supporters.

So where is the love?

Google is still at the top, but with Microsoft closing in!

But remember what Oscar Wilde said though:

Hearts are made to be broken.

In the current crowded and noisy open source landscape, competition is very fierce for developers attention & the revenue that comes with it – hearts can indeed be broken as fast as sending a ‘git command’! :)


Disclaimer: Any opinions, newsletters, research, analyses, prices, projections or other information offered by Kähler AI is provided as general market commentary, and does not constitute investment advice. Kähler AI will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to, any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information.  ZAIKU GROUP LTD.

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