Libre Software People's Front

don't confuse it with People's Front of Open Source

Who will be the libre software developers by 2020?

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As part of my master’s homework, I’ve just read an article written by some remarkable colleagues a few of years ago about the geographic origin of libre software developers. The article was interesting and had some impact. The key question that they tried to answer was how diverse the national origin of developers is, and the approach was also new as they didn’t want to use surveys but real data. They information that they used in the study was the following:

  • A dump of the SourceForge database created in 2005, which included more than 1,180,000 registered users.
  • Mailing lists archives of the Debian, GNOME and FreeBSD projects. A total of more than one million different e-mail addresses.

The article was focused both on users/contributors (contributors of the forge, mailing lists, source code repositories) and developers (contributors of the source code repos). Obviously, the second group is a subset of the first one. These were some of the results:

  • out of 1.1 million registered participants on SourceForge, just under 50,000 committed code to the development repositories. Well this is not a result of the study, but I found it quite interesting
  • most of the total users came from Europe and North America, followed by Asia with less than 10% of the developer population. If we take into account that the population is larger in Europe, the penetration of the libre software development per capita was higher in North America than in Europe.
  • there were more developers in the US and Canada than in most European countries or regions. On the other hand, the US had fewer libre software developers per million Internet users than most European countries.
  • when the total number of developers is adjusted using wealth (GSD), China, India, Russia, Brazil and even South Africa are among the higher contributors.

I wonder if the situation will be same by 2020.


“Geographic origin of libre software developers”
by Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, Gregorio Robles, Roberto Andradas-Izquierdo and Rishab Aiyer Ghosh

Written by sanacl

December 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

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