Why Companies Make their Tech Open-Source | Hacker Noon

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Big companies like Google and Microsoft always make most of their technology open source. These tech giants invest billions, but after some time make it public; everyone can access free of cost to use. But what do these large tech companies get in return?

In the late 90s, the thought of making their technology public would have been considered a bad strategy for tech companies. They always try to hide and protect their technologies. In 2020, tech companies open-sourcing their technology has become mainstream.

The most profitable tech companies, which have annual revenue of 1 billion, open source most of their tech, for example, RedHat, Cloudera, MongoDB, Spark, etc.

Facebook, Google, and other tech giants give open-source incredible importance to gather new innovation and build a big development community.

For ExampleFlutter vs react native, Tenserflow vs Py torch, and others. Of these tech giants, Google and Facebook are developers and customer-focused contribution but Microsoft and AWS are more enterprise-focused in open source. But Why companies make their tech open source?

Continuous Innovation:

Actually, open source is an industry of continuous innovation. You are going to have your tech used by many developers, and if they find some bug, or if they improve something, then at last your coverage of tech innovation grows exponentially. Companies will recognize potential issues in their code form different perspectives and ultimately millions of tech enthusiasts work and are working to develop this tech for you.

Of course, the company keeps the main workforce that contributes to the project and they have a major role in managing new contributions. Additionally, it gives them a chance to hire them. At last, it makes a big community and the company is the head of this community.

Sometimes open-source may not be preferred:

No doubt, open-source is profitable in specific business use cases like RedHat, MongoDB, etc. In the case of Artificial Intelligence, which is advanced, unpredictable, and challenging for researchers to monetize on their idea and fund of research.

Example — Elon Mask’s OpenAI started as a non-profitable research lab but after a partnership with Microsoft, they are making all their innovation through commercial APIs as opposed to open source.

Top Open-source Projects

1. Visual Studio Code:

It is an open-source free code editor developed by Microsoft. It was ranked the most popular developer environment according to stack overflow.

2. TensorFlow:

TensorFlow, a high-performance numeric computation open-source Machine Learning framework developed by Google. It supports API to develop beginner and expert level cloud-based applications.

3. Ansible:

Ansible is an IT automation tool. It was written on python language and its usage YAML, both are relatably easy to learn.

4. Vault:

It is a tool for secret management. Vault provides a unified interface for any secret while providing tight access control and recording a detailed audit log.

5. Kubernetes:

Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system designed for the automation of deployment and scaling, and for the management of containerized applications. It was developed by Google.

Actually there are many other popular development tools available. Amongst tech giants, companies like Apple and Microsoft are very open-source friendly and they open-source a limited amount of products like libraries, etc. They have a very small contribution to the whole ecosystem compared to other tech giants.

Previously published at https://medium.com/datadriveninvestor/why-do-big-companies-open-source-their-tech-3a5cad8cef21

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