FYI: Report on the 2020 FOSS Contributor Survey

David A. Wheeler


The "Report on the 2020 FOSS Contributor Survey” has been released from the Linux Foundation & The Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard. Authors are: Frank Nagle (Harvard Business School), David A. Wheeler (The Linux Foundation), Hila Lifshitz-Assaf (New York University), Haylee Ham, & Jennifer L. Hoffman (Harvard). URL:

It summarizes a survey of OSS contributors, and it focused on security (so I thought it’d be relevant to this group). It has lots of interesting tidbits, for example, "the overwhelming majority (74.87%) of respondents are already employed full-time, and more than half (51.65%) are specifically paid to develop FOSS.”

From a *security* view, one important result is that OSS contributors do *not* want to spend lots more time on security. I don’t think that means that “security is irrelevant”, but it means that we need to do things that do NOT soak up large amounts of time - which is entirely possible. They’re happy to learn. Note that the badging process takes ~20 minutes, which I think is *not* a big use of time, & thus fits into this. We *do* need to make security the default in a lot more systems - I think that’s one important way to implement that finding.

Anyway, I thought many of you would find it interesting

--- David A. Wheeler