Microsoft’s the top open-source contributor on GitHub

The organization with the largest number of contributors to open-source projects over the past year on GitHub is, surprisingly, Microsoft, GitHub announced today.

The organization with the largest number of contributors to open-source projects over the past year on GitHub is, surprisingly, Microsoft, GitHub announced today.

Fully 16,419 contributors affiliated with Microsoft worked on open-source GitHub projects during the past 12 months, GitHub said, ahead of 15,682 from Facebook, 14,059 from Docker and 12,841 from Angular.

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That also puts Microsoft ahead of Google, a company that’s been far more closely identified with the open-source movement during its ascent to the top tier of the tech world. Google had 12,140 contributors during the studied period, according to GitHub.

Microsoft’s position at the top of these organizational listings is less of a surprise than it would have been five years ago, however. The Redmond giant has increasingly embraced the open-source model, contributing to projects and releasing some of its key software components – including .NET, PowerShell, as well as CNTK, the machine learning/AI framework used in its Cortana voice assistant.

Other Microsoft open-source projects include the Javascript engine behind its new Edge browser, the compiling engine for Visual Studio, and Xamarin, a containerization tool.

Microsoft’s road to Damascus where open-source is concerned is an underscore to the broader corporatization of the open-source world. Increasingly, projects are not solely the purview of independent developers, but the products of large teams backed by huge tech companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Research from Dice commissioned by the Linux Foundation shows that more and more demand for open-source talent is present in the job market, with 59% of hiring managers surveyed saying that they planned to add open-source workers in the next half-year.

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