The joint effort of the open source community has provided developers all over the world with a set of technologies and tools that have been enhancing a lot of the best software solutions in the market, several of which were developed in a commercial context, by companies who operate in the technology world.
Even though the trading of software developed through open source technologies is valid, there is still a need and responsibility to contribute and give back to the community.
Since a lot of the times the contributions to the community end up being a result of the individual work of the developers, and in order to stimulate these contributions, companies can introduce processes and practices in their internal development activity that will encourage simple contexts of input. These can be the submission of corrections for detected bugs, the submission of improvements or expansions, the contribution for the improvement or complement of documentation, or even giving the developers of the company time for them to work on an open source project of their choice, among others.
But companies can have an even more active position when it comes to this topic, by sharing internally developed code with the community: not only commercialized solutions but also specific modules or software internally developed and used that might be useful for others.
This practice not only implicitly complies with the responsibility to give back to the community, but also means several benefits for the company:
Once the initial version of a software solution is internally developed and shared with the community, the company will be provided with the possibility of contribution by hundreds of developers during the testing, bug correction, improvement and expansion phases. And if said solution is interesting enough to attract a big part of the community, the dimension of the contributions can even lead to solutions that surpass the expected results of the internal development efforts.
In a context of frequent exchange of good quality open source projects, the company to which these are associated will have a bigger visibility in the community and its brand will gain a bigger association to value, which can lead to more potential customers.
Improvements in the recruiting process of developers
Developers who are truly active in the open source community tend to be extremely skilled professionals in their art, since the dynamic of joint contribution in the community encourages the exchange of knowledge, the collective growth, the usage of good practices, among other aspects that contribute to the building of a good developer, and this is exactly the kind of talents companies want to attract.
So, the fact that a company reports notable contributions to the community puts it in a strategic position to access this type of talent. And if the company is able to create a specific segment of contributors around one of its solutions, they can even recruit professionals directly from this segment, knowing all their background and the quality of their inputs. Besides that, developers recruited in these circumstances will already have complete context of the project.
These are some of the various ways through which a company that creates profit based on open source can contribute to the continuous growth of the community, while also taking advantage of it.
But no matter the type or form of input, the most important factor we shouldn’t forget it the responsibility to contribute.