Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are all ramping up open source work

Open Source
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Three of the biggest technology companies in the world, Amazon (opens in new tab), Microsoft (opens in new tab), and Google (opens in new tab), are tripping over each other in their bid to contribute to open source (opens in new tab) projects, new analysis has suggested.

According to open source data infrastructure company Aiven (opens in new tab), the total number of active contributors to GitHub (opens in new tab) from the three companies saw a more than three-fold increase in five years. 

In absolute numbers, the total number of employees from these companies, which Aiven refers to as hyperscalers, increased from slightly under 3,000 in June 2016 to just short of 11,000 in June 2021.

“Our research has found that the hyperscalers are committing more staff than ever to open source software projects. Not only is open source software a lynchpin in modern cloud computing (opens in new tab), but it is also a way to win hearts and minds of developers. This is clear by the number of contributors coming from the hyperscalers,” said Heikki Nousiainen, Aiven’s co-founder and CTO.

Going up or down?

A breakdown of the contributions reveal a couple of interesting trends. 

For one, while Amazon still lags behind Microsoft and Google, recent initiatives such as OpenSearch (opens in new tab), the open source fork of ElasticSearch (opens in new tab), along with a host of other open source projects (opens in new tab), will continue to push up its profile. 

So even as Amazon’s GitHub commits increase by 20% year-on-year, Microsoft’s has plateaued, and Google’s has surprisingly dropped by around 10%. 

However, Nousiainen doesn’t believe that the reduction in the number of commits from Google means the search engine giant is wavering in its commitment to open source.

“...it’s been an exceptional year, and Google has championed open source since its early days. It’s most likely a result of the increased maturity of its open source projects combined with the turbulence of the past year,” believes Nousiainen.

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.