infoTECH Feature

October 13, 2010

Survey Finds Many Open Source Developers Write Non-Work Apps on Company Time

To see how application developers are utilizing their time on job, IT research firm Evans Data Corp., conducted a survey of more than 350 software developers working on open source projects. Interestingly, more than half of them are using company time to work on projects not related to office work.

In fact, the latest Open Source (News - Alert) Software Development survey found that 67 percent of developers who write open source applications spend at least part of the time writing apps that are not work related. Sixteen percent of them spend more than half their time at work writing non-work related open source applications. And only 33 percent of the respondents said they never use their employers’ time for other projects. 

"It may be a discouraging thing for employers to hear, but developers working on open source projects can become very involved with them and may find it hard to completely leave them alone when they’re on the clock,” said Janel Garvin (News - Alert), CEO of Evans Data. "And few open source developers make much money from their apps – 65 percent report they make next to nothing for their open source work, and they have to support themselves,” he added.

Despite using company time for personal work, they manage to get their projects done on time. According to this survey, 67 percent of the participants said their last project was either on time or ahead of schedule, with only a third being behind schedule.

Other key highlights from this annual survey showed that those who also write proprietary software do so either because it better meets requirements (28.8 percent) or to generate revenue (27.9 percent), and over half believe they can resolve most severe bugs within eight hours. Similarly, 63 percent expect their use of open source databases to increase in the coming year.

In essence, this data came out of in-depth interviews with Open Source/Linux developers while covering topics ranging from languages and Linux distributions to what type of apps are being created for servers and for clients, including how many Linux apps will be released next year, what are the major obstacles to Linux and to Open Source Software (OSS), how different types of development tools rate and security concerns with Linux.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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