9 Reasons to Contribute to an Open Source Project

Posted March 6, 2017 By  Cynthia Harvey

More individuals and organizations than ever before are contributing to open source projects. According to the Black Duck 10th Annual Future of Open Source Survey, "65 percent of companies are contributing to open source projects, up from 63 percent in 2015." In addition, 67 percent of enterprises actively encourage their staff to work on open source projects.

Similarly, the most recent report on Who Writes Linux found that 5,062 developers had contributed to the open source operating system in the past 15 months, and since 2005, 13,594 developers have written code for the project.

But why do all these people take part in open source projects?

By definition, open source code is available to anyone who wants to use it for free. Creating and maintaining a widely used open source application can take thousands of hours every year. Why are so many individual developers willing to give away the results of their hard work for free? And why are so many enterprises willing to have their staff write code that any organization — including their competitors — can use?

This slideshow examines nine of the most common motivations for getting involved in an open source project. And if you've never contributed to the open source community yourself, these reasons just might convince you to give it a try.

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