Trends That Defined Open Source This Year

looking at the trends that defined the open source ecosystem in 2021

The last few years have seen the deployment of open-source software accelerate rapidly, and this will keep growing as we move forward. As per a report, the global open source services market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.2 percent during the forecast period, to reach $50 billion by 2026 from $21.7 billion in 2021. 

Let’s take a look at the open-source trends that emerged this year.

Demand for talent in open source technologies is high

Though the pandemic saw a rapid acceleration towards cloud-based digital transformation by businesses worldwide, it also saw a huge gap in finding the right tech talent. The demand to find such talent for organisations was very high throughout the year. Interestingly, the companies are actively investing in open source technologies and are on the lookout for talent well versed with these techs.

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According to the 2021 Open Source Jobs Report by the Linux Foundation and edX released in September, 97 percent of hiring managers said that hiring open source talent is a priority; 50 percent of the respondents said that they are increasing open-source hiring this year. This demand for open source talent is fueled by organic growth within organisations, as reported by 50 percent of hiring managers. It also mentioned that 92 percent of hiring managers surveyed had reported difficulty finding open source talent. Holding the right certifications will ease the process for hiring managers to find suitable open source talent.

Popular open source languages

Javascript has always been a popular choice among developers due to the flexible structure and user-friendly approach, while Python has also become a hot favourite among developers due to efficiency, speed, easy to learn capabilities and diverse range of libraries to work on.

As per the latest  State of the Octoverse report by Github, where it looks at code and communities built on GitHub, Javascript came out as the top language while Python and Java took second and third place, respectively. Typescript came in fourth, and C# occupied fifth place. 

Image: Github State of the Octoverse report

As per the Sonatype State of the Software Supply Chain report 2021, as of July 31, 2021, there were 1,864,696 JavaScript packages available in the npm repository, a rise of 16% from last year.

Big tech companies and open source

Integrating open-source technologies and tools in businesses is not an option anymore but a necessity. Using them comes with a set of advantages that can be transformational for any business like cost-effectiveness, flexibility, enhanced security, lower software costs, no vendor lock-in, among others. Big tech companies have realised the potential that open source holds and are actively investing in it, open-sourcing datasets for scrutiny and improvement as well. A few of them are:

  • Recently, Meta released a free, open-source library for training deep learning models with differential privacy called Opacus. Meta had also launched open-source simulation platform Habitat 2.0
  • Salesforce recently open-sourced a machine learning model known as CodeT5, which can understand and generate code in real-time.
  • Hugging Face, a leader in the open-source NLP space, introduced an open-source library called Optimum, an optimisation toolkit for transformers at scale.
  • DeepMind made AlphaFold 2.0 source code public. It is an AI algorithm that predicts the shape of proteins that can have a deep impact in the life sciences space.

Open Source in Mars mission: A Historic Moment

Open source also builds a strong sense of community-driven by a passion for contributing towards technological advancements for the common good. This was seen when Github developers teamed up for a historic Mars mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) flew a helicopter named “Ingenuity” on 

Mars. The Ingenuity helicopter runs an embedded Linux distribution on its navigation computer. A large part of the software is written in C++ using JPL’s open-source flight control framework F Prime (F’). 

In the coming years, we will see more and more open source deployments taking place, innovative projects coming up that will shape the businesses and innovations of tomorrow.

Sreejani Bhattacharyya
I am a technology journalist at AIM. What gets me excited is deep-diving into new-age technologies and analysing how they impact us for the greater good. Reach me at

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