Opinionated comments on the Octoverse 2023 report

Octoverse: The state of open source and rise of AI in 2023 - The GitHub Blog published on Nov 8, 2023

2023 saw the largest number of first-time open source contributors. We continue to see commercially backed open source projects capture the largest share of first-time contributors and overall contributions

This makes sense given the popularity around most commercially backed FOSS projects. Such projects will also usually be highlighted at FOSS United meetups, potentially pushing more first-time contributors to such projects.

As a community, we might want to take a step back and look at the kind of projects that we are promoting (e.g. via our monthly meetups) and calibrate e.g. by promoting independent/non-commercially backed FOSS projects.

India’s developer community continues to see massive year-over-year growth.
As a part of the UN-backed Digital Public Goods Alliance, India’s been building its digital public infrastructure with open materials—ranging from software code to AI models—to improve digital payments and ecommerce systems. Here’s a list of open source software (OSS) projects that Indian developers have built and are contributing to on GitHub.

The comment regd “open materials - ranging from software code to AI models” feels like pandering because it’s not exactly clear what the software code or the AI models are from the report. It would have been better to provide additional references here for those who aren’t already familiar with these.

7.3B Hosted GitHub Actions minutes in public projects

  • On average, developers used more than 20 million GitHub Actions minutes a day in public projects.
  • This underscores growing awareness across open source communities around automation for CI/CD and community management.

I wonder what the dollar cost and carbon footprint of 7.3 billion minutes is. Personally, I have a hunch that FOSS projects might become more conscious of their actions if they’re made aware of their carbon footprint.

Developers are sharing responsible AI tooling on GitHub. In the age of experimental generative AI, we’re seeing a development trend in AI trust and safety tooling. Developers are creating and sharing tools around responsible AI, fairness in AI, responsible machine learning, and ethical AI.

The Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University is also identifying which countries and institutions are the top producers of trustworthy AI research and sharing its research code on GitHub.

Additional reading material for anyone interested.


The numbers are mind-boggling. Seeing the FOSS community grow over the last ~5 years in India has been exciting. We now probably have a dozen non-trivial projects now originating from India, looking forward to see that number grow.

Open source maintainers are adopting generative AI. Almost a third of open source projects with at least one star have a maintainer who is using GitHub Copilot. This follows our program to offer GitHub Copilot for free to open source maintainers and shows the growing adoption of generative AI in open source.

Maintaining and reviewing community pull requests can probably unlock a lot of development (again I don’t know if it will shift the bottleneck elsewhere)