According to the 2023 State of Open Source Report from OpenLogic by Perforce and the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the primary motivator for open source adoption in companies is that open source software provides access to innovations and latest technologies. The report says:
“Software in general has become business-critical for many organizations, and consequently open source [technologies] … are key pieces of their digital infrastructure. The more mature organizations acquire expertise in these key technologies, and recognize the importance of being part of communities to participate in the innovation coming from open source.”— 2023 State of Open Source Report
Let’s explore some of the ways that open source software gives companies access to innovation.
Early adoption of emerging technologies
Open source communities are often the builders of emerging technologies and the frameworks, libraries, and tools that implement and support these technologies. The resources built by open source communities provide companies with ready-made building blocks that their development teams can incorporate into their own projects.
In the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, open source libraries like TensorFlow, PyTorch, and scikit-learn have become industry standards. And our own bpmn.io project is widely used by companies that want to provide their users with a visual interface for modeling business processes and decisions. In fact, we designed the bpmn-js, dmn-js, and form-js libraries with integration in mind because we knew that companies would want to embed and extend them.
By leveraging open source resources, companies can harness the power of emerging tech more easily and efficiently.
Knowledge sharing through collaboration
Of course, simply adding open source frameworks and libraries to your software development projects isn’t enough; you have to understand how to use them. By participating in open source communities and working alongside other contributors, development teams don’t just gain access to emerging technologies; they also gain access to experts and enthusiasts who understand how to apply them.
Our Camunda Champions are amazing examples of collaborative community members who actively support the Camunda community by contributing code, answering other users’ questions, publishing useful content, speaking at events, and contributing to online discussions. For example, Camunda Champion Zhi Li has collaborated with Camunda engineers to build support for new BPMN symbols and more.
Collaboration in open source communities fosters knowledge sharing, accelerates learning, and facilitates the adoption of cutting-edge tech.
Teaming up with innovators
Many large tech companies and innovative organizations (like Camunda!) actively contribute to and support open source projects. By engaging with open source projects, companies gain access to the expertise of these influential players. Collaborating in the open source ecosystem allows development teams to tap into the knowledge and experience of industry leaders and passionate developers. Collaboration can take many forms: code contributions, documentation contributions, participation in working groups, joint development efforts, and so on.
Rapid prototyping and experimentation
Open source software helps teams rapidly prototype and experiment with emerging technologies. The open nature of the source code allows developers to explore and contribute, gaining hands-on experience. Using open source tools means that developers have to write very little boilerplate code, so they can immediately start working on solving a problem instead of first spending time building a framework.
Rapid prototyping and experimentation help companies assess the potential of new technologies and test out how well they apply to specific use cases. By quickly building prototypes with open source tools, development teams can evaluate the benefits, limitations, and feasibility of adopting them more widely.
Community-driven standards and best practices
At Camunda, you know we love an open standard. As members of the Object Management Group (OMG) and contributors to the BPMN and DMN standards, we’ve seen how open source communities play a critical role in defining standards and best practices for all types of technologies. Community members collaborate to establish common protocols, guidelines, and patterns for implementation of specific technologies.
By actively participating in these discussions, companies can help shape the direction of emerging technologies and standards. For example, Camunda employees were directly involved in the creation of the DMN standard and as a result, we were able to release our Decision Engine before the final specification was published.
Engaging with open source communities ensures that you stay aligned with industry practices, so you’re not falling behind your competitors.
By embracing open source, you can position yourself at the forefront of technological advancements, leverage emerging technologies to drive innovation, and gain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving digital landscape. If you’d like to learn more about open source at Camunda, check out our open source and source-available projects and developer resources, and consider subscribing to our Developer Community Newsletter.