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Survey Shows Collaborative Development Pays Off

The increasing trend of companies pooling their development resources to collaborate on open source projects is paying off for both the companies and individual developers, who benefit from learning new tools and practices, according to a new study from the Linux Foundation.

Titled "Collaborative Development Trends Report," the survey indicated most responding companies believe joint development efforts are essential to their success.

"The rise of Linux and open source tools and components in the enterprise software industry over the past decade has been well documented," the foundation reported. "More recently, a new business model has emerged in which companies are joining together across industries to share development resources and build common open source code bases on which they can differentiate their own products and services. This collaborative approach is transforming industries from cloud computing and the datacenter, to automotive and mobile computing, and creating the next generation of technologies."

The first-ever, invitation-only survey polled 686 software developers and business managers. On the individual level, 83 percent of respondents said collaboration exposed them to new development tools and methods. On the business manager level, more than 77 percent of respondents reported their organizations benefited from shorter development cycles and getting products to market quicker.

Business managers reported the cloud, mobile devices, the "Internet of Things," software-defined networking and OSes as the top five industry segments likely to be disrupted by the new practice of collaborative development in the next year.

The foundation invited members to take part in the survey early this month, and industry heavyweights such as Google, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Cisco responded, along with many others. Most of the surveyed organizations had annual revenue of at least $500 million and more than 500 employees.

Examples of collaborative development projects reported by the foundation include Hadoop, CloudStack, OpenStack and others. Just yesterday, Facebook announced it was participating in a collaboration effort with Google, LinkedIn and Twitter to improve upon the open source MySQL relational database project to make it more suitable for large-scale use.

Other points of interest in the report include:

  • 59 percent of business managers and executives said collaborative development is "very important" to their organizations; 32 percent said it was "somewhat important."
  • 91 percent of business managers reported that in the next five years, the use of collaborative development will increase relative to other ways of software development.
  • Almost 82 percent of developers said they significantly grew their skill set.
  • Nearly 63 percent of business managers indicated they prioritize promotions for developers who collaborate with others.

"Collaborative development has become a necessary component of success for companies building software and innovating in a competitive global economy," the foundation concluded. "Combined, open source software and collaborative development will enable business and technology innovation at an unprecedented, global industrial scale."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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