GitHub: What is InnerSource?

This is a contributed post which is wholly attributed to the team at GitHub, ‘the home of developers’ as they would like to be known.

Widening open source

Software developers love open source because it allows them to problem-solve and work together when creating software. So, it stands to reason that in certain circumstances, developers may want to take this method of working and utilise it within the corporate network.

GitHub explains that this is the point where we can welcome InnerSource.

What is InnerSource?

InnerSource is described as a process of collaborative software development based on open source technology, but conducted within the confines of a private enterprise environment.

InnerSource takes the skills of developers who are accustomed to using open source tools and brings them inside the company firewall, providing a secure internal platform for working collaboratively on projects.

A new rubric

According to, “Inspired by the spread of open source software throughout the areas of operating systems, cloud computing, JavaScript frameworks, and elsewhere, a number of companies are mimicking the practices of the powerful open source movement to create an internal company collaboration under the rubric InnerSource.”

InnerSource in the enterprise

So what is the benefit of InnerSource development for business?

The developers at GitHub explains that primarily, it brings developers from across the enterprise together, breaking down siloes to (hopefully) enhance creativity and boost innovation.

The practical impact is that projects are often completed faster and to a higher quality, given that more people are sharing ideas and bringing a fresh perspective to problem solving. It also means that departments across the business are able to access pre-existing proprietary software and adapt it to suit their specific needs, saving them the time and effort of reinventing the wheel.

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