Github wants more tech companies to contribute to open source projects

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  • GitHub, the online code repository used by tens of millions of software developers around the world, including many developers throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has launched a new initiative aimed at encouraging more people to contribute to open source projects.

    The Open Source Friday initiative is designed to encourage startups and tech companies around the world to set their software developers free at the end of each week, allowing them to use company time to write code for some of world’s truly invaluable open source projects.

    According to an analysis performed by Black Duck Software, a leading technology company that set up shop in Belfast in October, the combined value of the world’s vast array of open source software amounts to more than $387 billion and would take more than 2 million person years to create if it wasn’t developed collaboratively.

    Given the extraordinary scale of this open source software market, and the fact that open source underpins many of the most critical operations of technology companies today, from web servers running Linux and websites powered by Wordpress to databases using MySQL and big data solutions powered by Hadoop, Open Source Friday isn’t just about getting startups and tech firms contributing to open source as part of their CSR policies - it’s also a way for these companies to collaborate on improving their own business infrastructure, according to Mike McQuaid, a senior software engineer at GitHub.

    “We see this as kind of a mutually beneficial arrangement, both for businesses and their employees, be they aspiring contributors, active contributors, or current maintainers,” he explained. “Because if businesses provide those people with time to work on these things during their work hours, that’s beneficial to the company, and that’s beneficial to the individuals as well.”

    GitHub is part of the Todo Group, a collaborative network of some of the world’s leading technology companies, including Facebook, eBay, PayPal, Googe and Yahoo!, which work together to highlight the value of open source software and encourage developers around the world to contribute to open source projects. 

    Startups and tech companies that are interested in having their own developers take part in Open Source Friday can direct them to www.OpenSourceFriday.com.

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