/ OPEN SOURCE

Open Source has won

When I started working as a developer - a long time ago, we were under constant supervision. For example, one had to ask the architects team for every new library. I remember one of the "official" library was iText, probably because reimplementing its features was deemed to expensive. Yet, though Struts was available, we had our own MVC framework. Just like any other company at this time.

Since that time, a lot has changed. The Apache Web Server has become ubiquitous, even though some companies still cling to IIS. But more than that, most libraries that we developers use are Open Source. Most software that we use is actually Open Source. Open Source has effectively won.

Even more, some companies deliver Open Source software. Of course, in the Java ecosystem, names such as Red Hat’s WildFly, Eclipse, JetBrains Kotlin, SonarSource’s SonarQube or Google’s Guava are familiar. What’s amazing is that some companies which core business is not software also provide Open Source.

Below is a list of Fortune 50 companies that have a Github presence, and some information about them. I also included banks at the end. As well as Microsoft for good measure.

The limits of the correlation between Open Source and Github are very clear to me. However, that’s an easy common denominator. This is a blog post after all, not a PhD thesis.

Microsoft

1,673

3,734

Days ago

4,670

MIT, Apache-2.0

C#, TypeScript, JavaScript, C++, Java

#

Company

Organization

Projects

# of repos

# of people

Most recent update

Highest number of forks

Available licenses

Languages

1

Walmart

162

22

Days ago

59

Apache 2.0, MIT, EPL 2.0

JavaScript, Objective-C, Clojure, Go, Java

5

Toyota

6

0

December 2017

6

BSD-2-Clause

Python, C, Java, C#, Limbo

9

Apple

43

68

Minutes ago

6,760

Apache-2.0, BSD-3-Clause

Swift, Python, C, C++, HTML

11

McKesson

Forks from third-party repos

15

Samsung Electronics

80

22

Minutes ago

302

Apache-2.0, BSD-2-Clause, MIT

C++, JavaScript, Python, C, Java

19

AT&T

98

4

Days ago

125

Apache-2.0, MIT, BSD-3-Clause

Java

20

Exor

21

1

Days ago

2

MIT, GPL-2.0

C, C++, BitBake, Diff, Shell

21

Ford

Mainly forks from third-party repos

25

AXA

2

0

December 2017

11

MIT

CSS

26

Amazon

42

12

Days ago

667

Apache-2.0

PHP, Java, Ruby, JavaScript, Python

29

Honda

Forks from third-party repos

31

General Electric

28

4

February 2018

7

MIT, GPL-2.0, Apache-2.0, BSD-3-Clause

JavaScript, HTML, Ruby, Objective-C, Go

32

Verizon

30

3

Days ago

43

Apache-2.0, BSD-2-Clause, LGPL-3.0

Scala, Python, C++, Clojure, Go

34

Allianz

1

2

October 2017

0

-

Groovy

J.P. Morgan

18

4

Days ago

377

Apache-2.0, LGPL-3.0

C++, JavaScript, Java, Haskell, CSS

Morgan-Stanley

21

1

Days ago

41

Apache-2.0, LGPL-3.0

C, Java, C++, Python, Perl

Goldman Sachs

14

0

Days ago

261

Apache-2.0

Java

Project traction

Many metrics can be use to evaluate a project’s traction:

  • Number of stars
  • Number of forks
  • Number of contributors
  • Number of pull requests
  • Commit frequency
  • Any combination of the above
  • etc.

In favor of simplicity, the above table displays the number of forks

There are some takeaways (and questions) that arise from this limited data sample:

The case of China

Interestingly enough, no Chinese-owned Fortune 50 company has any Github presence. There are some possible reasons for that:

  • State censorship in recent times
  • Business unwillingness to host company data on a foreign website
  • Cultural unwillingness to use foreign software
Business domain

Of course, software-related companies have a lot of projects and contributions on Github. That’s expected. But companies from other business domains are also represented.

Eclipse Collections

On the same note, Goldman Sachs offers the Goldman Sachs collection project. It was so successful that it was moved to the Eclipse foundation.

Only third-party repos

On the other hand, some companies are present on Github but only (or mainly) have forks from third-party repos. Compared to those that create their own repos, their contribution require another kind of analysis.

Companies with no people

Some companies list 0 members. I frankly don’t know how to interpret that.

Language repartition

From the above sample, languages are pretty well represented. It’s interesting that some exotic languages are used nonetheless (e.g. Clojure, Scala, Perl).

Repos with no license

A huge surprise is the lack of license type in most repos. Some possible reasons include:

  • No Open Source strategy. Or even worse, a completely Maverick approach drive by some developers. "Open Source is cool".
  • No collaboration with the legal department
  • A focus on the technical side of things. "What’s the usage of a license anyway?"
  • A combination of the above
No real license strategy

On the same side, some companies have as much as 4 different license types. Is that a lack of understanding? Or a lack of central license management? Or perhaps there are actually good reasons for that…​

In all cases, the fact that Microsoft, a.k.a. the legacy king of the closed source model, is actually one of the lead organization on Github is a definite proof that Open Source has won. We software developers should be happy about that.

Nicolas Fränkel

Nicolas Fränkel

Nicolas Fränkel is a Software Architect with 15 years experience consulting for many different customers, in a wide range of contexts (such as telecoms, banking, insurances, large retail and public sector). Usually working on Java/Java EE and Spring technologies, but with narrower interests like Software Quality, Build Processes and Rich Internet Applications. Currently working for an eCommerce solution vendor leader. Also double as a teacher in universities and higher education schools, a trainer and triples as a book author.

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