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APAC leads in open source adoption

APAC organisations are using open source software to modernise their infrastructure and develop containerised applications, though security concerns linger on

Asia-Pacific (APAC) organisations are leading the way in the adoption of open-source software, which is being used to refresh their IT infrastructure and develop containerised applications.

According to Red Hat’s State of enterprise open source 2021 report, over two-thirds of IT leaders in the region use open source for infrastructure modernisation, followed by DevOps (56%) and digital transformation (51%).

APAC organisations are also leaders in container adoption, with 53% already in the ‘in-production’ stage, compared to 51% in the US and 43% in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

This trend is showing no signs of abating, with 36% of APAC respondents expecting to increase their usage of containers significantly over the next 12 months, the highest globally.

The APAC region is also ahead of others in tapping open source for artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads, with 51% already using open-source software in those projects today compared to 48% in the US and 45% in EMEA.

When it comes to the benefits of open-source software, lower total cost of ownership, which has been historically associated with open source, is now down the list tied for the sixth spot.

In APAC, the top three benefits cited by IT leaders were higher quality software (33%), access to latest innovations (30%) and trusted by the smartest software engineers (30%).

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Despite the optimism around the use of open-source software, perceived barriers to adoption remain, particularly in APAC where the security of open-source code was still the top concern as cited by 42% of respondents. In the US, Emea and Latin America, security ranked fourth among adoption barriers.

Nonetheless, the security of open source software is improving. According to Snyk’s State of open source security 2020 study, new vulnerabilities in open source software packages were down by 20% across the board.

While there is no specific data point that could be identified to explain this change, an optimistic view suggests that this could be an aggregate of various improvements, including better awareness among developers, improving organisational practices, and advanced open source security tools in pipelines, according to Snyk.

Participation trends

Participation in open-source projects was also a key factor for IT leaders when they are choosing an open source vendor to work with. According to Red Hat’s study, 38% are “much more likely” to select a vendor that contributes and 45% are “somewhat more likely” to do so.

The users of open source software are participating in projects as well. A separate study by DigitalOcean, which supplies cloud services for developers, found that of those who actively participated in open source in 2020, 63% increased their participation, while only 12% decreased their participation.

APAC had the largest growth in overall participation at 51% of respondents, whereas the US, UK, and Canada had more respondents noting that their participation remained unchanged amid the pandemic. Younger respondents under the age of 25 were also nearly twice as likely than those over 25 to report an overall increase in their participation in open source.

While open source was originally created to make code free and accessible, many participants are now questioning the practice of not paying individuals for their contributions. Just 14% of respondents in the study are currently being paid for their work in open source.

More than half felt that participants should be paid to contribute to open source projects (54%), while about a third remained undecided. Only 12% of respondents were against paying individuals for their contributions.

When it comes to who should be paid, the respondents in the DigitalOcean study were split. About a third believed maintainers should be paid, 30% advocated for contributors to be paid, and 25% thought authors should be compensated for their work.

As for who should be funding these payments, about half thought tech companies should fund the payment of open source contributions, while a quarter thought project owners or individuals should pay.

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