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Open Source: Tech Companies Commandeer Open Source

By Dick Weisinger

There used to be a time when big tech companies either dismissed or disparaged Open Source projects.

In 2005, Shai Agassi, then President of product at SAP, called Open Source “intellectual property socialism.” Bill Gates called Open Source a “new modern-day sort of communism.” And Steve Ballmer slammed Linux as “a cancer.

But that was then. The playbook has changed for big tech companies. Instead tech has moved to dominate Open Source by providing tools that provide on-ramps to their proprietary offerings.

The top ten projects on GitHub (now owned by Microsoft) are primarily managed by large tech companies. The top contributing companies are listed here:

Matt Asay: Who Really Contributes to Open Source

David Habusha, VP of product at WhiteSource, said that “this whole ‘big-guy-goes-open’ phenomenon is not necessarily bad. It generates more open source alternatives and a choice for the community. While these large software vendors stand behind these large projects, developers can still be part of these projects and influence their future. The big guys’ involvement also provides transparency into how these projects are being written and maintained. It can also help drive better quality and security, as these vendors are committed to support these projects.”

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