9 Aug 2022

New Research into Open Source: Google accelerates its contribution to open source as its active contributors overtakes Microsoft

Google accelerates its contribution to open source as its active contributors overtake Microsoft

The big three hyperscalers have significantly increased their commitment to open source in recent years measured by both the number of active contributors and the number of commits from each organisation, according to the latest GitHub analysis by Aiven

In July 2022, Google’s monthly commits to GitHub have surged 21% year-on-year and Google’s YTD active contributors to GitHub (5,421) overtook Microsoft’s contributions (5,258)

Microsoft and Google continue to be the top two leading corporate contributors to Open Source Software (OSS). Amazon remains some way behind but is rapidly increasing its commitment to OSS

Aiven - Helsinki, Finland, 9th August 2022 – Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are getting more employees involved in open source than ever before according to new analysis by Aiven, a software company that combines open source technologies with cloud infrastructure.

Aiven’s analysis of data from GitHub, the repository hosting service, which is the de facto home of open source, found the total number of active contributors to GitHub from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google has increased by 300% in six years – from 2,654 contributors in May 2016 to 10,549 in May 2022.

The research found that Google’s monthly commits to GitHub has surged 20% year-on-year and Google’s active contributors to GitHub (4,643) overtook Microsoft’s contributions (4,394) for the first time since records began in 2016.

Over a third of Microsoft’s OSS contributions are in programming languages that are maintained by Microsoft. 38.8% of languages it uses are either PowerShell or C# - both originally developed by Microsoft. Google on the other hand prefers C++ and Java, and Amazon contributes in Python and Java.

Delving deeper, Aiven’s research into commits - the submissions of new software patches to open source projects - has found that the number of commits to GitHub from Microsoft and Google is still behind its summer 2020 highs, although the difference between the two has dropped.

Amazon still lags behind its hyperscale competitors but is now backing large open source projects such as OpenSearch, a fork of ElasticSearch, and hosts a growing number of projects on its GitHub page (https://aws.github.io/).

Heikki Nousiainen, Field CTO and Co-founder at Aiven, commented: “Our research shows that the hyperscalers are contributing more resources to open source. This is great news. As a community, open source software needs this sort of commitment from big tech to ensure that important projects are maintained and that vulnerabilities such as Log4Shell don’t happen again. More than this, it’s a better way to write clean, transparent, secure code.

“An unexpected result of our research was seeing Google overtake Microsoft in terms of the number of its staff contributing to open source software. Google has championed open source since its early days and recently announced its Assured Open Source Software service, reaffirming that commitment.

“Google surpassing Microsoft is particularly surprising, as a factor in this has been a decline in Microsoft’s year-on-year commits to open source projects. However, Microsoft commitment to developer freedom and innovation is consistent, with the company being a major player in open source, and even purchasing GitHub in 2018. The switch is testament to the market increasingly looking to capitalise on open source software.

“Amazon continues to accelerate its commitment to OSS. OpenSearch, its fork of ElasticSearch in 2020, showed a major change of direction for the company as it showed it was willing to lead a major open source initiative.

“The overall message of the research is positive. There’s a huge amount of innovation continuing to happen in the open source community and the results benefit us all. The hyperscalers are setting an example for others to follow.”

Note to editor:

Total number of commits is calculated by analysis of the GitHub contributor archive data by corporate email address. It measures the number of commits in a month and uses Google Big Query to analyse public GitHub data.

Number of contributors and top programming languages is measured by the Open Source Contributor Index, an open source project that tracks and measures open source activity on GitHub.

Hi-res charts: https://www.dropbox.com/s/eszhorw4fyw2drl/Graph-Growth%20of%20commits.png?dl=0


About Aiven

Headquartered in Helsinki and with hubs in Berlin, Boston, Paris, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto, Aiven provides managed open source data technologies, like PostgreSQL, Apache Kafka and OpenSearch, on all major clouds. Through Aiven, developers can do what they do best: create applications. Meanwhile, Aiven does what they do best: manage cloud data infrastructure. Aiven enables customers to drive business results from open source that trigger true transformations far beyond their own backyard. Most recently, Aiven achieved a $3B valuation and has now raised $420M total funding backed by its investors Atomico, Earlybird, Eurazeo, IVP, Lifeline, Salesforce Ventures, and World Innovation Lab. To learn more about Aiven, visit aiven.io and follow @aiven_io on Twitter.

Media Contacts

Ruth Prieto Arenas, Communications Manager EMEA - press@aiven.io

Ting Ong, Communications Director EMEA & APAC - press@aiven.io