Google overtakes Microsoft in open-source contributors, research finds

11 Aug 2022

Image: © JHVEPhoto/

Aiven said Google, Microsoft and Amazon are committing more to open source, with their number of active GitHub contributors growing by 300pc in six years.

Google has increased its commitments to open-source software and overtaken Microsoft in terms of active contributors, according to new analysis by Aiven.

Aiven said that Google’s monthly commits to the open-source code repository GitHub have surged 20pc year-on-year and it now has a greater number of active contributors than Microsoft.

According to data from the Open Source Contributor Index (OCSI), Google had 5,421 active contributors in July, compared to Microsoft’s 5,268.

Aiven co-founder and CTO Heikki Nousiainen said Google overtaking Microsoft was “particularly surprising”.

“A factor in this has been a decline in Microsoft’s year-on-year commits to open-source projects,” Nousiainen said. “However, Microsoft commitment to developer freedom and innovation is consistent, with the company being a major player in open source, and even purchasing GitHub in 2018.”

The OCSI data shows that Google has maintained the lead in monthly active contributors since the start of this year, after Microsoft led in every month in 2021 except February.

Red Hat, Intel and IBM have consistently followed Google and Microsoft in terms of contributor numbers this year.

Meanwhile, Amazon lags behind the other hyperscaler companies, with 1,963 contributors in July. However, Amazon is showing a higher monthly growth in contributors than some of the other companies on the list.

Aiven noted that Amazon has started to focus more on open-source projects, such as its backing of OpenSearch, a fork of ElasticSearch, and a growing number of projects on GitHub.

Nousiainen said Amazon’s commitments to OpenSearch and ElasticSearch showed a “major change of direction for the company” and a willingness to lead major open-source initiatives.

Aiven said these tech companies are rapidly getting more involved in open-source software. The data shows the total number of active contributors to GitHub from Amazon, Microsoft and Google has increased by 300pc in six years.

“The overall message of the research is positive,” Nousiainen said. “There’s a huge amount of innovation continuing to happen in the open-source community and the results benefit us all. The hyperscalers are setting an example for others to follow.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic