Research finds 97 per cent of UK companies use open source software

Image Credit: Linux Insider

A research by Open UK, an organisation for the business of open source software, hardware and open data, found that an overwhelming number of companies were using open source software and some were contributing to open source projects. 

“The first of its kind, this report makes visible the current business adoption of open source software in the UK and provides a baseline of what will be an annual review – to capture the growth, shifts and changes of open source software use in the UK in the coming years,” claimed Jennifer Barth, PhD, founder of consultancy firm Smoothmedia and the leader of the research which led to the report.

The organisation has conducted the research in two phases and is expecting the third to include more on finance, energy, health care and retail. GitHub, Open Invention Network and SUSE had sponsored the study. The key findings in the phase one report pointed that UK is being the centre of excellence in open source software, contributes up to £43.1billions to the UK economy. It also added that the UK is Europe’s number one contributor and one of the biggest contributors to open source software in the world.

“Open source software is no longer a niche term for business and government, it is rapidly becoming the de facto method for work today. When it comes to software standards, open source is the way to get it done. Looking at the software industry, many of the biggest businesses are heavily reliant on open source; whether it be cloud vendors, software vendors, healthcare, the financial industry, telecommunications or… the list goes on. Open source software is the foundation for established vendors even when their products are proprietary. It is the toolbox enabling entrepreneurs and start-ups,” said Andrew Waffa, arm distinguished engineer and senior director of its software communities. 

Open Source adoption

The key findings of the survey showed high utilisation of cloud infrastructure in UK. The researches have conducted an anonymous online survey focusing on software adoption, cloud technologies, security and many more. Among the 273 randomly selected companies from various sectors and sizes, the survey found 97 per cent of them were using open source software.  The survey also revealed that 64 per cent of the businesses in the sample experienced growth in 2020 compared to 2019. Also, 48 per cent are using open source software more as digital adoption in organisation culture. 

The survey findings revealed that open source databases like  MySQL, PostgreSQL, Cassandra, and GitHub were widely used. The most common types of open source software used in the UK are open source software languages, open source software tools, GitHub, or other public repositories, open source operating systems, and open source databases.

Most used types of open source software Credit: Open UK

The development of open source software relies on collaboration and contribution. According to the survey, although 97 per cent of businesses in sample use a type of open source software, a vast majority of respondents (89%) run open source software internally in their business, while approximately two-thirds of respondents (65%) contribute to open source software. The report said, bulk of the contribution comes from the technology, media and communications sector.

The research firm says it expects an increase in use of Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs) with growing need to manage and maintain open source software. It also points out to the need for awareness in using Open Chain, the standard for open source software.

“In terms of governance, OSPOs and security there is room for growth and a need to focus on how the UK can demonstrate more leadership in these areas,” stated the report.


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