Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Software

56.2% of Software Developers use Open Source 167

cfelde writes " 56.2% of software developers use open source components by ZDNet's ZDNet -- Evans Data has found a rising trend toward including open source modules in software development world. While 38.1% said they used OSS modules in their applications in Spring of 2001, in the most recent survey, 56.2% said they had."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

56.2% of Software Developers use Open Source

Comments Filter:
  • by PocketPick ( 798123 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @09:37AM (#13086309)
    ...but the more interesting question is of that body of users, how many follow the terms of the GPL or whatever free license the Library is distributed with?
    • Indeed, a complete license breakdown would be interesting. But to hazard some guesses... If you're using open source software, you're probably plugging in various libraries into your app for certain functionality. So most people (myself) included are using LGPL licensed libraries. Then there's zlib's license, which if nothing else is because of the sheer number of people who use, well, zlib. I don't know of too many libraries which use a BSD license, though there are a few which use MIT. There's also Apach
    • I use lots of open source projects at my work (GPL, bsd, etc). Whatever it takes to get the project done. I just make it extremely clear to my boss that we *cannot* sell the software with out giving all the source code to the customer. Its not really a problem since our business model is more along the lines of providing a service and the software I develop is used by us to make our process cheaper/faster.

      I haven't had to modify any code yet (mostly I just plug it in/use the api's provided), but if I e
    • by ackdesha ( 572569 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:06AM (#13086405)
      I agree. I spend more and more time writing long emails to my "business" friends, explaining Free Software, Open-Source, BSD, Sun, RMS, Hackers, hackers, blah blah. Not only is there a lot of misinformation and FUD floating around, there is just a lot of ignorance and an attitude only concerned with profit, speed to market, and results. It will be really interesting to see the generation that grew up warez and freeware begin to start running major corporations.
      • Any company that doesn't just focus on profit, speed to market, and results is going to be a failed company.

        That's not to say you can't get all of that with OSS.
      • there is just a lot of ignorance and an attitude only concerned with profit, speed to market, and results

        Isn't that the bottom line, though? Software, platforms, and licensing philosophies are usually just tools that enable the succcess of profit, speed to market, and results. If you can't affect one of these things with your decisions, why should anyone beyond yourself care?

        That being said, OSS vs closed, GNU vs BSD, worm vs. virus can matter -- but you have to articulate the specific differences t

      • It will be really interesting to see the generation that grew up warez and freeware begin to start running major corporations.

        Bear in mind that most of the generation running companies now grew up with taping records off their friends, before graduating to copying videos.
    • They wouldn't say they use it if they would be breaking the license. Most of it should be pretty standard stuff: zlib, jpeg, png, vorbis.
    • by sillybilly ( 668960 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:27AM (#13086470)
      If you're developping for a single company, solving a single issue at hand, the GPL is no problem, because you can ask money for it, you can only not decide what happens to the code after you get paid, it's out of your hands. But neither do you lose the code, because you can go on doing what you want with it, so it's not like a sale and transfer. So as far as most programmers are concerned, working at a company IT dept, it shouldn't matter that much.

      The only issue is when you wish to solve broad problems, where you have many customers at once, and you don't want one customer taking your work and becoming your competitor, selling to your work other customers, when the inital agreement/hope during the code generation phase was that you'd get a full return from all of them, and they won't outcompete you by selling/giving each other your work. Would you have done the same work if you only got the return from one of your customers?

      However, if the problems is broad enough, you can start justifying standardization even among competitors, with standards such as ASTM, ISO, IEEE, for the sake of efficiency and interoperability. In such schemes everybody gives up something, but the customer base benefits trememdously. Imagine if all memory manufacturers produced their own proprietary formats? How about harddrives? How about screws? There are opposite examples too, how about motherboard sockets or car parts? When is a 1-click shopping 'invention' generic enough to be called a screw?

      Software standards such as Apache or Linux, emerge similarly, where if you come across a problem, you are allowed to look under the hood, and go search for a standard fix, but if one doesn't exist, you are allowed to go ahead and fix your own problem. Being allowed is a BIG deal, because not everyone has months/forever-never to wait on someone else, and if they can't do it themselves, they'd rather hire another programmer if the original who "owns" the product is unwilling, or is acting similar to a blackmailer. Once you do this, fix the problem for yourself, the cost of releasing the fix is nil. You can only talk about opportunity cost, the sales that you lost that you could have had - which is a very vague term. But if the product wasn't "yours" in the first place, you're committing a crime by simply fixing the problem, and instead you're forced to contact your supplier and cross your fingers and hope he will do it for you. This is the key difference between information "goods" and conventional material goods - if you produce a traditional good, if you hand it over, you no longer get to keep it, it's a cost to you. Once information exists, it costs nothing to freely duplicate, the real cost is only the initial generation part, where money can be quite an incentive, or instead of money, trying to fix your own problem.

      Imagine if you could duplicate a car-part that broke down on your car by simply beaming over a copy from your neighbour's? By nature, you can do this with information, and this is what DRM-ultracopyright-digital technologies are meant to fix, so you will no longer be able to, because the intellectual property owners want to get paid. Welcome transactional digital age, where every information transfer network packet is handled as a database or bank transaction - it will either transfer and erase original, or not transfer at all. I wonder how they will apply this to your brain, when you try to teach - i.e. transfer information - your kids math, language, literature, culture.

      I think information consumption, education in existing knowledge, is at least as important as the creation or generation of new information, because without a good education you only generate crap. Therefore consumption of information such as education, going to a public library, or even listening to music, could be compensated financially, instead of put a break on by lack of funds. Plain english - you should get paid to get an education or for reading a good novel instead of you having to pay for it - it's a worthwhile human a
    • Given that most developers develop on a Windows platform, the 56% is likely due to these developers installing Cygwin. It provides an outstanding development environment by virtual of the fact that Cygwin emulates the entire UNIX environment. The alternative is that you must pay big bucks to a commercial company to buy a package of UNIX tools (e.g. ls, grep, sh, and the like) written for Windows. Yet, Cygwin is free. Why would any fool pay the commercial company when she can just download Cygwin?

      Cygwi

      • Cygwin is free

        Cygwin is not free. From http://cygwin.com/faq.html [cygwin.com]

        In particular, if you intend to port a proprietary (non-GPL'd) application using Cygwin, you will need the proprietary-use license for the Cygwin library.

        The company, whom I work for, develops and sells closed source software. I contacted redhat [redhat.com] for the details. The "buy out" license is prohibitively expensive. We ended up using a proprietary package because it was cheaper.

        I use a lot of open source at work. cygwin [cygwin.com], inkscape [inkscape.org], Gantt [sourceforge.net]

        • In particular, if you intend to port a proprietary (non-GPL'd) application using Cygwin, you will need the proprietary-use license for the Cygwin library.

          Yuck.

          MinGW [mingw.org] doesn't have such a Draconian clause in its license.

          We ended up using a proprietary package because it was cheaper.

          Did you evaluate MinGW and find that it wouldn't work? You can't get much cheaper than that... and it works well, too (or at least it Works For Me, YMMV, IANAL, WTFLOL etc).

  • OS Breakdown (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ronark ( 803478 )
    I would like to see a breakdown of open source software across operating systems. I would bet that out of that 56.2% a large majority of the development still occurs on Windows. It would be interesting to see.
  • Low? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by praseodym ( 813457 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @09:42AM (#13086321) Homepage
    It's a bit low if you take in mind that nearly every developer has a copy of Firefox or some other tool.
  • It would be interesting to know what license is most common. I have a gut feeling that BSDL/LGPL are a lot more popular among "traditional", closed-source software makers...
    • Sure, but are you implying that takes away from it somehow?

      I think it's a great trend, because I fall among the 56.2%, and I love using software that's always available when and where I need it, and that I can trace into to, or look at a core file to find out whats wrong.

      • Of course it doesn't take anything away from it. As a matter of fact, it's still very impressive. I still do think it's an interesting question though...
  • We just implemented some new business process systems at my work. Management + Vendors == My life a living hell.
    Anyway, now that it's all setup, I've been cruising around and they offer the names, licences and follow the terms of every application they use, including:

    MIT License
    Apache License
    GPL
    and
    Lesser GPL

  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Evil Adrian ( 253301 )
    I wonder what percentage of software developers that are on the clock are using OSS. I bet most of these developers are doing this stuff in their free time for zero pay.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rew190 ( 138940 )
      In my office at least, OSS tools are generally used because they don't require running out and getting licenses and are free. OSS popularity probably has less to do with supporting the open-source movement and more to do with the sheer convenience of downloading free programs that get the job done.

      I would also imagine that Eclipse and its plugins have a bit to do with this.
    • I wonder what percentage of software developers that are on the clock are using OSS. I bet most of these developers are doing this stuff in their free time for zero pay.

      I work in a java development shop.

      All of our front-end web servers are apache. Most of our back end app servers are Tomcat (both are OSS)

      We also have a very large scale enterprise portal web site in production, which uses a closed source application/portal server, but numerous open source components behind the scenes, for everything fro
    • At every company I've worked for over the last couple of decades, everyone used free (beer and speech) software -- this even includes the regrettable couple of years at Micros**t shops. If you don't, you and the company you work for are being fools for not using tools with infinite benefit-to-cost ratio.

      On occasion, where the license permitted it, we've also incorporated code from free software into products.

  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @09:50AM (#13086358) Homepage
    If you want to convince closed-source software developers to consider writing open source software -- or, for that matter, if you simply want to make closed-source software developers aware of open source software -- then what better approach is there than saying "here's some code; go ahead and use it" and waiting until they notice that the code is both useful and high quality?

    People don't just become open source software developers overnight; there's a gradual process involved, and it almost always includes a stage of starting to recognize the virtues of open source software while still writing closed-source software -- a stage which the GPL makes extremely difficult.
    • I agree that there is a gradual process. However, myself, I didn't make the leap to "recognize the virtues of open source" until I began actually reading the GPL and learning about the work of the FSF and RMS. That gradual process may be quite different for each developer. I personally am quite inspired by FSF and RMS, and using Free Software connects me to a history and community I'm proud to be apart.
    • Stuff from the Apache Java projects have made its way into all sorts of commercial ware - even the Java Runtime itself.
    • if you simply want to make closed-source software developers aware of open source software -- then what better approach is there than saying "here's some code; go ahead and use it" and waiting until they notice that the code is both useful and high quality?

      You really want a better way? Just point out all of the competitors who are eating their lunch with GPL'd software.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @02:08PM (#13087462) Homepage
      If you want to convince closed-source software developers to consider writing open source software


      At my previous job, I wrote a lot of useful (to me, anyway) networking code. That code was all closed-source, owned by the company. So when I moved to my current job, I no longer had (legal) access to any of that code, and had to essentially re-write it all from scratch.


      Determined not to make the same mistake twice, I got permission from my current employer to open source the re-written code [lcscanada.com]. Now I am guaranteed access to it for the rest of my life, for any professional or personal project I ever do. I'll never have to re-invent this particular wheel again. (Having other people contribute free bug fixes and new features to the code on a semi-regular basis is the icing on the cake)


      So there is a nice, selfish reason to write open sourced code. The code got written on company time, but because anyone can use it for anything, that means I can use it for anything. And since I wrote it, it's designed exactly the way I want it to be.

      • So there is a nice, selfish reason to write open sourced code. The code got written on company time, but because anyone can use it for anything, that means I can use it for anything. And since I wrote it, it's designed exactly the way I want it to be.

        I think your is a nice testimonial of the BSD license. You're allowed, without hindrance, to reuse your code and other's code, to your company's advantage, in fact any company you work at, without any potential liability springing from any legal blunders invo
        • Except that under a BSD license a future employer could require him to make modifications to the original code and require that those modifications be proprietary and stay within the company.

          With the GPL a future employer could require the same problem be resolved with completely new proprietary code, but at least they have the option to use a tried and true GPL version if they do not require proprietary code.
          • Yeah, you know, the problem is that you're hypothesizing, besides stating the obvious, beaten-to-death follow-up argument against the BSDL. The reality is that the told a True Story (TM) about Real Code (TM).
            And what you say might as well be a non-sequitur, because a company might not touch GPL code in the first place.
          • Most likely an employer that requires modifications to be kept proprietary would not consider using a GPL'd version either; so in the GPL case I might be forced to re-write the code from scratch yet again -- not something I'd want to do. (Of course I would probably not want to work for such an employer anyway)


            But in any case, the one thing no employer can do is make proprietary the existing open source codebase. Since the code is fairly mature, I think that is the important thing.

    • So how much longer till WindRiver takes notices that they'd be better off releasing their code under BSD?
  • John Koenig, principal of Riseforth, a consulting service for software vendors, said many software developers and end users are attracted to a different kind of free. "They have the ability to do what they want with it: Put it anywhere you want, change it if you want -- and sell it if you want, in a lot of cases," he said.

    Like, whoa!
  • No.. it can't be.
  • Nice number, but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gugod ( 95500 )
    It shoud also be noticed that they are simply using open source software instead of making contribution. It is the contribution that counts. Also, I think the are way more then 56.2% of developers who are using proprietary software in development process. There are some overlap between open source users and proprietary software users. But it is still a good number to tell people the impact of open source software in general.
    • It's the contribution that counts to GPL-license-using developers and to some others. There is a section of society that prefers wide-spread adoption and de facto standardization to forcing contribution of new code. Even Stallman sometimes shares this viewpoint, as he said in his rationale behind the LGPL.
    • It shoud also be noticed that they are simply using open source software instead of making contribution.

      Today's users are tomorrow's contributors.
    • If I'm reading this right, they are simply using open source software, and not necessarily (as the Slashdot summary says) "[using] OSS modules in their applications". Was I the only one who immediately read that as if they were linking (L)GPL'd modules into their code or something similar?

      It's not really clear what the statistic includes anyway. The only specific cases mentioned in TFA are "the operating system" and "application servers like Jboss or Gluecode". I certainly wouldn't describe using a Linux

  • I'm pretty sure that >99% of software developers, or anyone who sits down at a desktop PC, are using zlib and libpng. I'm sure there are other libraries that are just as widely used accross Windows and Mac OS X.
    • by oo_waratah ( 699830 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:25AM (#13086462)
      In a company that will not install the GCC compiler and give us a single system to compile our C code on a licensed compiler, every system has openssh and sudo installed.

      I use Open Source software because it is good. valgrind on my C code has found so many potential problems in code. I use Linux and gcc because I cannot afford the $1,000 minimum I was spending on proprietary tools at home just to play with technology for my career development.

      I envy the beginning programmers today. They can have a full professional system for the cost of the hardware only. They can work on professional software and really contribute then establish their careers without going through what I had to go through to get my first programmers role, 90% hardwork but 10% miracle.

      Statistics
      • I bet you're violating your licence by allowing multiple people to access the machine on which the compiler is installed. I also bet that it'll cost your company a whole lot of money when that machine breaks or needs to be taken offline. Smart...
  • by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:44AM (#13086544) Homepage
    I've had people tell me -- directly -- that they don't trust open source to be used on the current project. When I tell them that the core app is running under not one but 3 open sourc systems, they are shocked.

    They know Apache, they know Tomcat, they know MySQL, but a good portion of these same people don't know that each of these are open source.

    • I get that sense where I'm working now. In meetings developers will talk of open source like it's a dirty word. For example, we have a system that used to have a C client, but they've started using SSL and dropped support for the C client because they didn't think there was a suitable C library for SSL. One developer made a comment along the lines of "There is an open-source library called OpenSSL, but that looks like its development is pretty disorganized, even for open source projects." The company se
      • That being said, most of the developers use Eclipse as their development IDE, and I'm sure we are using more open source tools than they realize.

        Yep. What can you do? Not much without looking like a rabid free software / Linux / ... advocate.

        I get the distinct impression that to most folks I deal with think open source exists on Linux and nowhere else. If they use Windows or a propriatory *nix, they can't be using open source!

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @10:52AM (#13086575)
    I'm sick of the media's sloppy reporting of statistics. Things like "56.2% of developers do blah blah blah".

    Look, there's no reason to be so fuzzy with the numbers. This survey received exactly 5830 responses, and of those, exactly 3278 developers said that they use OSS. That means that precisely 56.2264150943396226415(0943396226415)... percent of all developers use OSS.

    This is a rational number, people; it sure as hell ain't pi. There's no reason to get lazy and muddy the waters with approximations.

    • You're the one who is being lazy, it's 56.2264150943396226415094339622641509433962264150 9 433962264150943396\
      22641509433962264150943396226 415094339622641509433 962264150943396226\
      41509433962264150943396226415 094339622641509433962 264150943396226415\
      09433962264150943396226415094 339622641509433962264 150943396226415094\
      33962264150943396226415094339 622641509433962264150 943396226415094339\
      62264150943396226415094339622 641509433962264150943 396226415094339622\
      64150943396226415094339622641 50943396226415094
  • Sounds like just another unscientific survey reported on Slashdot.
  • That at least some of the utilities they're using are open source. Heck, even Microsoft uses Perl and GNU m4 in build process. Many devs use Emacs and UNIX CLI tools.
  • The only thing new here is that public domain and home grown licenses are being replaced with more formal open source licenses. A long standing method of operation, using free publicly available source code, now has a new label, "Open Source". Companies have been using public domain source, libraries, and tools for decades. The C Users Journal mainted a library. Technical books came with source code samples. People posted their work to BBS, Bix, the CompuServer DDJ Forum. Some people post buggy code and ask
  • Red tape (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tbuskey ( 135499 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @09:21PM (#13089877) Journal
    I'm a sysadmin and love using OSS stuff. I don't have to go through the maze of approval, budget, purchasing and installing licenses. I don't have to worry about tracking the license for users, to transfer to another machine or deal with a downed license server.

    Even if you discard all those barriers, I find OSS to be a bit easier to support. Not always, but more often.

    Anyways, that's using OSS tools. Code is another issue and I imagine there can be a whole 'nother mess of red tape there and lots of reasons to avoid it as a developer.

    OTOH, I wonder how many developers are even aware that they're using OSS code. I know developers that haven't checked in clearcase views for 3 years. Some have issues with figuring out what their .cshrc does and source it over & over until they run out of memory and crash their xterm. Some have code that hard codes IP addresses instead of using a *variable* to allow use on another subnet.

try again

Working...