13. September 2021, 15:30 Uhr | Tobias Schlichtmeier
According to a survey by Bitkom, 7 out of 10 companies use open source software. Advantages are said to be cost savings, access to the source code and more security. However, some also see disadvantages.
Whether database programs, web services or the server operating system – without open source software, very few works in most companies anymore. According to a survey by the German digital association Bitkom, 7 out of 10 companies (71 percent) rely on freely available programs. In the coming years, the number is likely to rise even further – only 7 percent see open source critically, two-thirds are interested and another quarter is still undecided.
According to Bitkom, open source can increase the pace of development, especially in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analysis and blockchain. In addition, open source is an important driver of digitization.
Currently, the larger the company, the more likely it is to use open source applications. Among companies with 2,000 or more employees, 87 percent are most likely to do so; companies with 20 to 99 employees are the least likely to use open source – but even among them, at 70 percent, it is a clear majority.
82 percent of companies see advantages in using open source software. The most important advantage is cost savings (24 percent). This is followed by access to the source code and an easy way to change providers, as well as high security through timely updates. Other advantages include easy customization and a large selection of open source components, knowledge exchange in a broad and active community, and better compatibility with open standards.
Conversely, however, 9 out of 10 (88 percent) of the companies see disadvantages in using open source. In particular, they complain about the lack of specialized staff, high training and initial training costs, and an unclear warranty situation. Likewise, some companies see further disadvantages such as: a too large selection of open source, the lack of commercial support and very general security aspects.
Slightly more than half of the companies (55 percent) do not rely solely on open source, but also support the community. One in three companies relies on support services or special enterprise applications. In one in five, employees or teams are actively involved in open source projects, and 11 percent initiate or even support them themselves. One in eleven companies provides the community with modified or improved source code.