Quantifying the Value of Open Source Software

By September 28, 2020October 28th, 2020Blog

By Arpit Joshipura, General Manager, Networking, Edge & IoT

It’s abundantly clear at this point that software created in a shared, open, collaborative environment is transforming entire industries, including telecommunications. Communities, developers, and end users of open source software are rewarded with many benefits, including economies of scale with respect to development costs. But how do we begin to quantify this impact? What if one or two vendors tried to replicate this infrastructure on their own? How much capital investment would be required?

The Linux Foundation’s goal  is to support the creation of sustainable open source ecosystems by providing support programs that address legal requirements, open source expertise, , infrastructure, events, training, and more. Following this model, LF Networking (LFN) was created to provide platforms and building blocks for network infrastructure and services. 

Using LFN developer analytics and industry standard estimates for labor costs, we launched a research study to estimate the development value of software created under the charter of LFN. The research study uses the COCOMO methodology to value software. The methodology uses the total Lines of Code (LOC) developed for all projects under the charter of LF Networking, from project inception through July 2020. The total LOC is currently over 87 million lines.

Additional COCOMO inputs are labor wage rate per month. For our study labor rates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are used. COCOMO outputs include Effort in person-months and development value of software. COCOMO calculates an estimated effort of over 700K person-months, and the research finds that the monetary investment to develop the software under Linux Foundation Networking is over US$ 7.3 billion.

Summary of Results:

These results help explain why the industry shift toward open source is having such a profound impact on industries like ours. Across the software stack and the ecosystem alike, open source makes business sense. We invite you to join us on this journey and determine how your company can take advantage of open source. 

References and Source Data:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151256.htm
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.t04.htm
CommunityBridge Insights
COCOMO Web Tool: http://softwarecost.org/tools/COCOMO/