Eclipse Foundation Releases the Industry’s First Survey of Open Source Developers and Policymakers from the Global South

Tuesday, July 2, 2024 - 06:45 by Jacob Harris

BRUSSELS – 2 July 2024 – The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source foundations, has announced the release of its latest community-supported strategic research report, “State of Open Source in the Global South.” This first-of-its-kind survey focuses on underserved and underreported developer communities to understand their use of open source technologies and the impact on local economies. The regions, collectively referred to as the Global South as defined by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), include Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia (excluding Israel, Japan, and South Korea), and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand). These regions are increasingly participating in the global open source community and contributing to open source projects around the world.  

“Our research indicates there is already serious momentum for open source in the Global South, as well as the potential for significantly more growth,” said Thabang Mashologu, vice president, Community and Outreach at the Eclipse Foundation. "Developers in these regions are not only creating practical solutions to meet local needs, but are also becoming increasingly influential contributors to global open source projects, enriching the overall ecosystem with their unique perspectives. This report provides strong evidence that the next wave of tech innovation may very well emerge from the Global South."

Industry research, such as the GitHub Octoverse Report 2023, has previously identified tremendous growth and potential across many of the Global South developer communities.  This survey, conducted from May 14 to May 28, 2024, among 423 software developers and policymakers, aligns with these findings.

The purpose of this report was multifaceted: to explore the attitudes and opinions of developers in the Global South and to amplify the voices of these vital and influential communities contributing to global innovation. Our findings highlight the substantial potential and impact of developers in the Global South, both within their countries, as well as on the global open source ecosystem. Key findings from the survey include:

  • Active Contributions and Leadership: 37% of respondents are contributors, 28% are maintainers, and 22% are creators of open source projects. 77% of respondents use OSS, indicating a strong foundation for further engagement and innovation. The top industries represented among respondents are Information Technology (54%), Financial Services (9%), Telecommunications (7%), Healthcare (5%), and Wholesale & Retail (4%). 
  • OSS Adoption Drivers: Increasing OSS use in the Global South involves informing, empowering, and supporting developers. Key factors for driving adoption include implementing security best practices (63%), providing opportunities for career growth (61%), delivering good documentation (61%), and utilising open source licences (60%).
  • Progress and Opportunity: OSS drives local benefits and opportunities in key areas, such as improved educational opportunities (64%), the development of a stronger software developer workforce (62%), and increased entrepreneurship and innovation (56%).
  • Positive Societal Impact: More mature OSS communities report greater positive impacts far beyond just software development, including economic growth, innovation, and enabling women to build skills and careers. Respondents identified the top societal impacts of open source software as improving innovation (61%), enhancing economic growth and work opportunities (55%), and increasing access to quality education (50%).
  • Economic Growth Potential: 59% of developers strongly agree that OSS will play a significant role in their country’s economic growth over the next 10 years.
  • UN Involvement in DPGs: Policymakers we spoke to are aware of the United Nations’ involvement in Digital Public Goods (DPGs) and see the UN as a facilitator for collaboration and promoting OSS projects that fit the DPG definition. They advocate for partnerships with OSS foundations to govern and promote DPG-qualifying projects.

The impact of OSS extends beyond the tech sector. It democratises access to cutting-edge technology, enables skill development, fosters economic growth, and reduces gender inequality. However, to fully unlock this potential, concerted efforts are needed. Governments, donors, NGOs, open source groups, foundations, and local and global entrepreneurs must collaborate to provide infrastructure, mentorship, training, funding, and job opportunities. These efforts are crucial to nurture and support the immense talent present in the Global South.


The survey contains recommendations for key stakeholders to help maximise the potential of open source development in the Global South:

  • For Developers: Actively engage with the open source community to build your skills and network. Leverage the numerous opportunities for collaboration and learning for career growth and innovation.
  • For Policymakers: Support OSS by providing infrastructure and resources. Collaborate with community groups and OSS foundations to promote sustainable development goals and innovation in your region.
  • For Business Leaders: Offer grants, sponsorships, and funding for OSS projects and foundations relevant to your business. Organise local workshops, hackathons, and meetups to foster collaboration. Identify potential employees based on their contributions to OSS projects.

The survey includes respondents from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam. The research was fielded in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The survey was conducted with the support of ClearPath Strategies, a global research and consulting firm, and fielded in partnership with Open Source Community Africa and FOSSASIA.

The survey data provide further insights into developer choices for OSS technologies, preferred programming languages, and the challenges they face. In the spirit of sharing and advancing learning, the report will be distributed freely under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License. The entire report can be downloaded here.

Join Us at OSPOs for Good (July 9 & 10)

The Eclipse Foundation will present these findings and discuss how OSS can be leveraged to drive sustainable development at the OSPOs for Good conference at UN headquarters in New York City on July 9 & 10, where our executive director Mike Milinkovich will be a speaker.

Open Source for Policymaking Workshop (July 8)

The Eclipse Foundation, in partnership with Open Forum Europe and the Digital Public Goods Alliance, will host a workshop in New York City titled “Government Spotlight: Policymaking and Strategy for Building Open Source Ecosystems.” This workshop is specifically designed for mid-level to senior policymakers in governments and international NGOs to share lessons learned and best practices in using open source technologies in public administration. The venue for this event is the historic Great Hall at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York City. We are grateful for their generous support.

Learn more at the Open Community Experience (OCX), a transformative open source developer conference from 22-24 October 2024 in Mainz, Germany. Visit the OCX website for sponsorship and participation details.


Quotations from Community and Research Partners

Open Source Community Africa

"Africa is brimming with talented developers ready to contribute to global innovation. This report highlights their potential and the critical need for support and resources to help them thrive," said Bolaji Ayodeji, Community Manager at Open Source Community Africa.


“Our partnership with the Eclipse Foundation on this survey has further illuminated the incredible contributions of developers in Asia. We look forward to further collaboration to support and empower these communities,” said Hong Phuc Dang, founder of FOSSASIA.

Digital Public Goods Alliance 

“The findings in this report dispel the myth that developing economies lack the capacity to leverage open source technologies, including digital public goods, to give people access to basic services, accelerate the attainment of the SDGs, and spur innovation,” said Lea Gimpel, Director of AI and Country Engagement, at the Digital Public Goods Alliance. “Global majority countries have been at the forefront, showcasing the potential of open source. This report underscores the importance of continuing and growing the support for open-source initiatives globally and rethinking funding narratives from catalytic funding to long-term infrastructure funding.”

ClearPath Strategies

“This research highlights the incredible dedication and potential within open source developer communities. These developers are poised for significant breakthroughs on their own terms, and with the right support, they can achieve remarkable success,” said John Garrett, Founder and Partner at ClearPath Strategies.


About the Eclipse Foundation

The Eclipse Foundation provides our global community of individuals and organisations with a business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation. We host the Eclipse IDE, Adoptium, Software Defined Vehicle, Jakarta EE, and over 415 open source projects, including runtimes, tools, specifications, and frameworks for cloud and edge applications, IoT, AI, automotive, systems engineering, open processor designs, and many others. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the Eclipse Foundation is an international non-profit association supported by over 360 members. Visit us at this year’s Open Community Experience (OCX) conference on 22-24 October 2024 in Mainz, Germany. To learn more, follow us on social media @EclipseFdnLinkedIn, or visit


About ClearPath Strategies

ClearPath Strategies is a boutique research and strategy firm that helps organisations and leaders around the world navigate complexity and make informed decisions. Partnering with clients of all sizes, ClearPath applies its roots in international politics and their campaign thinking to the challenges faced by some of the world's leading organisations, from Airbnb and Uber, to the Eclipse Foundation and Google, to C40 and the Waverely Street Foundation. 

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