There's a lot of star-gazing in open source. For a while, people looked at stars as a metric of success. But as time goes on, we've started to see stars as a superficial metric. Seeing new contributors and their impact matters. But with GitHub Organization Insights recently deprecated, it's harder to understand which projects are really successful. At OpenSauced, we've been working hard over the last two years to fill that gap. Read more of bdougie's article to learn how...
5 things you should know about open source contributors
- 80% of code comes from just 1% of contributors. While open source welcomes everyone, the bulk of code contributions come from a surprisingly small percentage. This raises questions about contributor burnout, accessibility barriers, and the need for better support for onboarding new contributors.
- 70% of contributors are paid by their employers to work on open source. When we think about open source, we often think of independent developers volunteering their time, but companies are shaping the open source landscape. With that in mind, there are more questions about potential conflicts of interest, corporate influence, and sustainability if a company chooses to change its open source license or sunset a project.
- The average contributor makes just 4 commits per year. Despite the massive volume of code, individual contributions tend to be infrequent. This suggests potential barriers to entry for newcomers as well as an opportunity to stand out as a repeat contributor.
- Only 10-20% of open source contributors are "new" in a year. This means the majority of contributors are experienced individuals who have been involved for some time. This also means that we should consider the impact on the longevity of projects where the majority of contributors are reaching retirement age.
- 54% of open source contributors report feeling burned out at some point in their contribution journey. Sustainability is important for projects, maintainers, and contributors. That will look different for everyone, but we need to identify the causes of burnout to ensure the future of the projects we use and support.
Keeping Track of Your Contributors
Lists and Insights can help you to keep track of your project health, your contributors, and identify trends.
We're close to 1000 highlights on OpenSauced! To show our excitement, we're sending a special swag package to the contributor who posts the 1000 highlight, so get to sharing!