Maintainers Need Your Support, Microsoft Further Embraces Linux, and more: Open Source Matters

Welcome to the 3rd edition of Open Source Matters: our regular publication about the latest happenings in open source! Let’s dive into the news.

The 2021 Open Source Maintainer Survey

Tidelift recently held their first Global Maintainer Summit that brought together open source maintainers to discuss their challenges and share best practices. During the event, Tidelift surveyed more than 400 open source maintainers and turned those findings into the 2021 Open Source Maintainer Survey.

Here are some of the survey’s major points:

  • Surveyed maintainers feel a strong sense of purpose.71% of maintainers do it because they want to make a positive impact on the world, and 63% said it fulfills a need for creative, challenging, or enjoyable work. 
  • 46% of maintainers don’t get paid for their work, and 49% of maintainers said this is something they dislike about their work.
  • 45% reported that being a maintainer adds to their stress, and 40% feel underappreciated for their work.
  • Maintainers value money more as they make more from open source work. 61% of open source maintainers who make more than $100,000 say that money is an important motivating factor; this drops to 18% for maintainers who make less than $1,000.
  • 59% of maintainers have considered quitting or have quit, and the more projects someone maintains, the more likely they are to have considered quitting.
  • On average, maintainers spend less than 25% of their time writing code for new features, reviewing contributions (19%), addressing bugs (14%), reducing technical debt (11%), and documentation (9%), all take up considerable amounts of the average maintainer’s time.
  • Documentation contributions are viewed as extremely valuable by 56% of maintainers.

Read the 2021 Open Source Maintainer Survey to see more details on the findings.

Microsoft Releases Its Own Linux Distribution

Microsoft has released CBL-Mariner, their own Linux distribution used internally for their cloud infrastructure and edge products and services. Their goal with building CBL-Mariner is to provide a consistent platform for their services and stay current on Linux Updates. The project readme states: 

“CBL-Mariner has been engineered with the notion that a small common core set of packages can address the universal needs of first-party cloud and edge services while allowing individual teams to layer additional packages on top of the common core to produce images for their workloads.”

Microsoft views Linux as a critical component of their long-term success, and long gone are the days when Microsoft viewed open source software as their enemy under the leadership of Steve Ballmer.

New Open Source Projects

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Ben Lloyd Pearson

Ben Lloyd Pearson is the Director of Developer Marketing for Mattermost. He is a technology generalist who focuses his broad understanding to grow and engage developer audiences through digital media, open source advocacy, and events strategy and operations.

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