DigitalOcean: Bridging the Open Source Divide

With a vision of enabling developers of any skill level to build software that changes the world, DigitalOcean, the developer cloud platform for modern apps, has been actively connecting the dots between programmers and open source software. The company offers free, comprehensive programming tutorials to developers, and today it has built one of the largest communities of developers—connecting them with open source solutions and programs.

Internalizing open source

A large set of DigitalOcean’s solutions is built on open source software. It also continuously invests in new open source technologies such as Kubernetes, while sponsoring and conducting meetups regularly to educate the developer community about such software. We asked Mr. Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Director – DigitalOcean India, about the impact of these initiatives on the open source community in India. He says, “Increasing awareness and enabling contributions to open source software both within the company and the larger developer community is one of the ways in which we manifest our core company value of ‘our community is bigger than just us’. With a 26.12 percent share, India had the highest number of redemptions in our most recent Hacktoberfest (our global month-long celebration of open source technologies), validating the enthusiasm for open- source software amongst the developer community in India”.

Giving back to the community

DigitalOcean continuously contributes to its client and developer community through open source software. With several repositories on GitHub, the company’s commitment to open source software is immense. Also, it supports multiple projects on open source software including Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Apache Software Foundation, Node.js, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), and many more.

Mentoring start-ups

Through its Hatch program, DigitalOcean has partnered with top-tier accelerators, incubators, and venture capital firms to support the start-up ecosystem in India. These start-ups get access to DigitalOcean’s cloud infrastructure, a vast repository of open source content, as well as curated
events. By connecting and learning through a larger community of influencers, developers, and open source organizations, start-ups can embark on their open source journey quickly.

Celebrating the movement

For DigitalOcean, open source software also offers a reason to celebrate. The company conducts HacktoberFest—a month-long celebration that invites developers to contribute to open source software. In 2018, Hacktoberfest, which was organized in collaboration with GitHub and Twilio,
celebrated its fifth year and drew 106,582 participants and garnered 412,324 pull requests globally. In addition to individuals, open source developer communities, such as like Elastic, Changelog, and Jenkins also participated in HacktoberFest. Mr. Tim Falls, Director of Developer Relations at DigitalOcean says, “With participation from 150,000 developers in 2018, Hackoberfest is the largest celebration of open source software in the world. We’re proud of the role we’ve played in the global open source community and are excited to do more”. In tandem, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of open source, the company conducted a survey on open source trends, where it surveyed over 4,300 developers from around the world. The findings of this survey have unearthed interesting insights into open source usage and its future.

How enterprises benefit when developers effectively leverage open source technology

Both enterprises and individuals stand to gain immensely by contributing to open source. Individual developers stand to connect with a wider peer community, enhance coding skills, grow careers, and break away from the mundane to recharge their thinking. At the same time, enterprises that
contribute to and partner with open source organizations tend to attract the best of coding minds as developers feel that such companies have a nurturing culture.

Interestingly, only about 55 percent of developers actively contribute to open source software actively, as per the Currents survey conducted by DigitalOcean. The survey also revealed that while enterprises encourage the use of open source software in developers’ day-to-day work, they do not allow these developers to devote work time to these projects. And even if enterprises do free up time for developers to contribute, it is reported that many of them decide not to contribute due to two reasons: not knowing where to begin and the lack of confidence. Therefore, as developers in
India get familiar with open source software and begin contributing more actively, enterprises, too, will have to play a key role in enabling this journey. They can help developers get ahead by:

● Educating developers about open source
● Giving them the right skills to make valuable contributions
● Enabling programmers to spend a significant amount of time in open source projects (while
at work)
● Encouraging all cadres in the team to participate
● Offering resources proactively
● Showcasing the larger picture/benefits of adopting open source

At the same time, business leaders across industries will have to gain an in-depth understanding of the ecosystem to make informed decisions on the technology stacks, solutions, and partners to support.
Thus, as the momentum in open- source adoption picks up, disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, will also become more widely available. These are some of the reasons why the future of open source software in India is bright and exciting. Companies that embrace open source software and contribute to the community can accelerate, innovate, and disrupt the future faster.

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