The Value of Open Source in the Cloud Era

Executive Summary

Two significant shifts characterize computing in the past two decades: the widespread use of free and open source software (OSS), and migration to the cloud. In the age of the cloud, open source is maintaining and perhaps even increasing its influence.

In the fall of 2020, IBM, in collaboration with O’Reilly Media, sponsored a survey about open source and the cloud, to which roughly 3,440 professional developers and managers responded. They showed strong support for open source and for skills in several open source technologies. Here are some of the key findings of the survey:

  • Nearly all respondents use OSS in some aspect of their operations, often deploying it widely.

  • OSS was rated equal to or better than proprietary software by 94% of respondents.

  • When choosing cloud providers, 70% of respondents prefer one based on open source.

  • Respondents associate open source technologies with higher wages, more job opportunities, and more professional opportunities.

  • Linux, containers, and databases were the most important technologies to know, being rated higher than knowledge of proprietary cloud offerings, and 95% of developers considered Linux important to their career.

  • When hiring, 87% of hiring managers considered knowledge of open source an important factor. Additionally, 67% thought that experience with open source provides greater long-term value than experience with the technologies of specific vendors.

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