Foundation research

Linux Foundation research reveals new trends in open source diversity, equity, and inclusion

“The open source community is growing at an unprecedented rate and it is imperative that we understand this growth in the context of diversity, equity and inclusion so that we can collectively implement the best practices that arise. translate into inclusive communities,” said Hilary Carter, vice president of research at the Linux Foundation. “The open source diversity, equity, and inclusion study gives us valuable insights that can lead to a more diverse global open source community.”

Study after study has revealed that diversity among technology builders leads to better and more robust technologies. But the industry continues to struggle with increasing diversity, and the open source software community is no exception. Creating and sustaining inclusive communities can attract a more diverse talent pool, prioritizing the next generation of open source technologies. The Linux Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Open Source Study aims to identify the state of DEI in open source communities, the challenges and opportunities they present, and to draw conclusions about creating improvements in critical areas.

“Understanding the data behind diversity, equity and inclusion in the open source community allows us to identify areas for focus and improvement. The open source community will greatly benefit from the actions we take to increase engagement and make this a welcoming place for all,” said Nithya Ruff, Comcast Fellow, Head of Comcast Cable’s Open Source Program Office, and Chairman of the Linux Foundation Board.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Eighty-two percent of respondents feel welcome in open source, but different groups have different views overall. The 18% of those who feel unwelcome belong to disproportionately underrepresented groups: people with disabilities, transgender people and racial and ethnic minorities. North America.
  • The increase in open source diversity reflects growing global adoption, but there is still much to be done.
    As global adoption of open source technologies grows rapidly, so does the diversity within open source communities. But there’s still plenty of room for growth: 82% of respondents identify as male, 74% as heterosexual, and 71% are between the ages of 25 and 54.
  • Time is a determining factor for participation in open source
    Time-related barriers to open source access and exposure include discretionary and unpaid time, onboarding, networking, and professional development time, and time zones.
  • Exclusionary behaviors can have a cascading effect on contributor experience and retention.
    Exclusionary behavior has cascading effects on feelings of belonging, opportunities to participate, achieve leadership, and retention. While toxic experiences are generally infrequent, rejection of contributions, interpersonal tension, stereotyping, and aggressive language are much more frequently experienced by certain groups (frequency 2-3 times higher than the study average).
  • People’s backgrounds can impact equitable access to open source participation early in their careers, worsening representation in leadership later on.
    Only 16% of student universities offer open source as part of their programs. This, combined with unreliable connectivity, geographical, economic and professional disparities, reduces an individual’s opportunities for contribution.

“Understanding the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the open source community is critical to business strategy and building an inclusive culture,” said Demetris Cheatham, Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy at GitHub. “This latest data, encompassing both qualitative and quantitative research from the Linux Foundation, helps direct our attention to the things that matter most to our employees and the greater community and industry.”

The study also highlights societal changes and trends that impact DEI in the workplace. Corporate digital transformation, Techlash, political polarization, the social media ecosystem and content moderation are all cited as trends that have exposed and amplified exclusionary narratives and conceptions, demanding increased awareness and recalibrating individual and organizational attention.

To download the full study, go to:

For more information on the Linux Foundation’s DEI initiatives, please visit:

About the Linux Foundation
Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation and its projects are supported by more than 1,800 members and are the world’s leading hub for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation projects are essential to global infrastructure, including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, Hyperledger, RISC-V, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and meeting the needs of contributors, users, and solution providers to create enduring models of open collaboration. For more information, visit

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