Where are the Open source developers from?

People often ask me how do people have time to write open source Perl code? If we look around we see that almost all the people in the Perl Community are from the wealthy countries. Countries where the GDP per capita is high.

My assumption is that there is a strong correlation between wealth and contribution to an open source project. I am not talking about the usage of Open Source applications, but the contribution to the code base or documentation or other parts of the applications. I am not even talking about wealthy people. Maybe middle-class? I am not sure.

I guess people who have have to work harder to maintain a reasonable standard of living will have less time to spend on activities that are not directly contributing to their income. So probably that's the reason you see a lot less contribution from Easter Europe than Western Europe and almost no contribution from Africa. Except maybe South Africa.

I hope that upcoming Perl Survey will shed more light on this. At least within the Perl community.

I also tried to search for some data about this and found the Open Source Activity Map of Red Hat from 2008. Unfortunately the data is missing for most of Africa and a large part of Asia. That's what white means.

Looking at both the map and the Open Source Index Ranks there are a few countries that surprised me, especially Brazil and China but also India, Thailand and Malaysia. They are ahead of both Austria and Canada.

None of these countries have high GDP/capita but they are quite big so the overall GDP is high. Maybe that's the reason.

What do you think? What are the key reasons people in a certain country contribute or not to open source?

Published on 2010-05-18 by Gabor Szabo