Open source sustainability

Sustainability of open-source ecosystems

While only twenty years ago open-source software was simply a curiosity that attracted the attention of a few academics and was not seriously considered in the software industry, open-source infrastructure today is ubiquitous, powering applications in virtually every domain.

Economists refer to open-source software as digital dark matter, to signify both its invisibility and importance. They also report valuations of open-source software in the billions of dollars per year, in terms of both direct reuse value and boosted productivity and efficiency.

Given the importance of open-source digital infrastructure to so much of the economy, one might expect that it is adequately staffed and maintained, i.e., sustainable. Yet, this is often not the case. As a recent Ford Foundation report investigating the sustainability of open-source digital infrastructure notes, most users of open-source infrastructure take it for granted, and society at large is unaware of the risks.

In this project we study ways to increase the sustainability of open-source digital infrastructure.

Here’s a recent talk outlining some of the sustainability challenges that open-source ecosystems face today.

Related Projects

Open source sustainability

Badges on npm packages





Our Pastry Shop

Wean Hall 5115, Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA, 15213 USA