Open source app developers do it on company time

Over two-thirds of open source developers make non-work related apps on company time, according to new figures by research firm Evans Data.

The report, entitled Open Source Software Development Survey, revealed that 67 percent of developers who work on open source applications spend some of their working hours on the projects, even though they are not authorised or sanctioned by their boss.

The figures were generated after 350 open source software developers were asked about when and where they make their apps, revealing that only 33 percent of developers don’t use company time on non-company app projects.

“It may be a discouraging thing for employers to hear but developers working on open source projects can become very involved with them and may find it hard to completely leave them alone when they’re on the clock,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data. “And few open source developers make much money from their apps – sixty-five percent report they make next to nothing for their open source work, and they have to support themselves.”

While bosses will not be keen to hear the news, particularly if the company is struggling financially during the current economic downturn, there are plenty of worse ways to spend company time, and the majority of workers with access to the internet will admit that they spend time at work browsing the net or checking their emails, which is often far less productive.

Google operates a work policy that allows 20 percent of job time to work on personal projects, a move that Google believes increases productivity and aids the overall progress of technology. With so many app developers using company time as is, we wonder if more jobs should include this personal project time to encourage non-work related developments.

The survey also revealed that 67 percent of app developers finish their projects on time or ahead of schedule. 28.8 percent of developers make proprietary software to better meet requirements, while 27.9 percent do so to generate revenue. More than half of developers said they could resolve most major bugs within eight hours, while 63 percent said that they will be making more use of open source databases over the next year.