Managers Love Open Source More than Devs: Study

Tech pros are using open-source projects more than ever, but a new study shows they’re not as excited about them as we might think.

GitLab’s 2018 Global Developer Report suggests managers are far more excited about open-source projects than developers. Across three main questions regarding the importance, security and effectiveness of open-source tooling on a company’s processes, management was far more complimentary than those tech pros actually using widely available (and typically free) tools or services.

GitLab also reports that 92 percent of respondents consider those widely available tools “critical” to their development process. Some 15 percent say “all” of their team’s development tools are obtained via open-source methods, and are widely preferred to bespoke, proprietary tooling:

Respondents are passionate users of open source, with 75% reporting that using open source tools is important to them and 84% saying they prefer to use open source over closed or proprietary tools.

Three-fourths of developers think they have access to the best development tools, while 81 percent of managers agree. GitLab posits managers may be excited about the tools they discover on sites such as GitHub in part because “vendor lock-in is more salient for managers weighing available options.”

It may also have to do with developer performance. Around 63 percent of developers on low-performing teams say they have access to the “best” tools, while 83 percent of developers on performant crews say the same. Only 49 percent of high-performing teams say they lose time switching between tools, a figure that jumps to 62 percent for under-performing squads.

Open tooling may also be why GitLab found remote teams are outshining their in-office counterparts. Most remote teams subscribe to Agile development, though DevOps managers saw continuous integration tools as more important to their workflow.

Elsewhere, GitHub just open-sourced its Licensed tool, which helps automate license checks for open-source repositories. The goal there is to help developers save time, which GitLab underscores as a pain-point for developers who don’t feel their workflow is as streamlined as they’d like.

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