News & Insights for the AI Journey|Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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Google Remains Top Open-Source Contributor 

via Shutterstock

Open-source software is akin to baseball and apple pie: Everyone approves, but few actually back up their commitment with code commits to the open-source community with few or no strings attached.

According to a scan of code contributions to projects sponsored by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation  (CNCF), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) remains by far the largest contributor of code across all projects. Using a tool called Stackalytics, the survey conducted by open-source infrastructure vendor Mirantis found that Google accounted for 52.9 percent of code commits to CNCF projects.

StackAnalytics is itself an open-source code scanning framework hosted by the OpenStack Foundation.

Even when subtracting code contributions associated with its wildly popular Kubernetes cluster orchestrator, Google remained by far the largest CNCF contributor. Open-source specialist Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) was far behind at 7.4 percent.

Source: Mirantis/Stackalytics

Indeed, it turns out Kubernetes is not the foundation’s largest project in terms of contributed code.

Many would assume that Google’s dominance over CNCF code contributions is because of its work in Kubernetes (which originated in Google), but Stackalytics data reveals that this is not the case,” said Boris Renski, a Mirantis co-founder and its chief marketing officer.

Stackalytics found that Kubernetes trails another Google-backed project for the most code commits by a single company. GRPC is an open-source framework designed to enable clients and server applications to communicate “transparently” with the goal of making it easier for developers to build “connected systems.”

The survey also found that cloud-native projects tend to be driven by individual member companies. For example, 61 percent of code commits for Notary, a trust framework for securing Internet data by allowing users to verify content, were from application container specialist Docker.

The survey of open-source cloud code also turned up another surprising trend: A major Chinese technology vendor is among the biggest contributors to open-source development. Over the least six months, Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications vendor, has emerged as the fourth largest contributor of open-source code to CNCF.

Indeed, Huawei has been steadily building its presence at open-source events such as Linux Foundation conferences, handing out hats and other tchotchke promoting its growing commitment to open-source software development.

VMware (NYSE: VMW), which finished just behind Google, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Huawei in the code survey, recently acquired Heptio, the startup launched by the ex-Google engineers who created Kubernetes.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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