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Amanda Brock, CEO, OpenUK

State of Open: The UK in 2023

Phase One: “A Year in Review”

OpenUK’s State of Open reports, initiated in 2021, continue to evolve in 2023 with a focus on the UK’s prominent position in open source software. The nation leads Europe and ranks fifth globally in GitHub accounts, boasting over three million by January 2023. The reports highlight the UK’s commitment to open source development and its economic impact. The three-phase approach involves a May survey to update economic data and explore future possibilities. The State of Open Con in February contributes to business-oriented insights in Phase Two, while Phase Three addresses security policy and global considerations. OpenUK emphasises the UK’s role as a global power in open source technology, showcasing leadership in Europe and its economic influence on the national economy. A survey in May seeks community input for comprehensive economic analysis.

Amanda Brock, CEO, OpenUK

OpenUK’s State of Open reports began in 2021 and have taken a both well-received and ground-breaking approach to reporting, pushing boundaries further each year in the pursuit of quantifiable knowledge about open source software and by building an evidence based approach. This year we are again refining our process further. We start the process with this overview of 2022 (with the odd peek into Q1 of 2023) as Phase One of this year’s report.

We will build Phases Two in June and Phase Three in September from a survey in May, designed to obtain the base data required to update the economic impact of open source software in the UK. From this we may also build a view of possibilities for the future development of this.

My key take-aways from the information OpenUK shares in this Report is that the UK sits at the number one position in Europe in terms of GitHub accounts. This has become the traditional – if fallible – measure of open source software developers, referred to as “developer accounts”. Having established that the UK is Number One in Europe and Number Five globally in terms of these developer accounts, as of October 2022. By January 2023 the number of accounts goes over three million.

This means that the UK starts 2023, with 4.5% of the UK population holding a GitHub ac- count – higher per capita than any other country in the world. This figure substantiates our view of the UK as a global leader in open source software through contribution and
number of developers.

This concept of leadership through contribution will also be considered and this and the contribution to the ecosystem, digital public good and paying maintainers will be considered across the phases of this year’s report alongside the economics of Open Source Software.

Our first annual State of Open Con took place in the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in February. The outputs of this conference will also form part of our 2023 reporting. We intend to build a distinct document around the business of open source software, as well as our State of Open Reports including case studies from UK based businesses in Phase Two and onwards. All phases will include Thought Leadership.

You will not have escaped the hype around AI, what with the onslaught of Generative AI and Chat GPT related data crossing our inboxes and the UK’s draft AI Bill. These will inspire an AI focus to Phase Two, taking a detailed review of the impact of AI on Open Source and Open Source on AI.

The ongoing discussion of security in a digital world at a policy level will provide focus for a Phase Three in the early autumn. Our UK Consultation on Security comes to an end on 1 May and the consultation itself indicates a more appropriate approach to security and open source software than Europe’s disastrous Cyber Resilience Act. The global landscape is critical and a greater consideration of the US approach “In order not to hamper innovation or research, free and open source software developed or supplied outside the course of a commercial activity should not be covered by this Regulation” whilst touched on in this Phase One, will also be included in future phases.

All of the work across our Phases in 2023 will demonstrate the place of the UK as a global power in Open Source Software technology, its leadership in Europe and the economic impact this has on the UK economy.

Our Survey will hit your inboxes in May and we very much need your input into this to allow for this economic analysis.

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