There are possibly millions of worldwide OSS committers indepdently from the fact how the contributions are related to their employment.

Is the a way to know how do they are spread across the world, and if this is too broad, how many are in Germany?

1 Answer 1


A typical Fermi question.

I know some data for Germany and Europe and will extrapolate: there's 800k programmers in 80M people. Now, a 1-digit percentage of companies in Germany value open-source for other reasons than cost-cuts. Thus I assume that reflects approx. on programmers (conservative estimate IMHO): every 10th programmer is doing some open-source stuff. In Germany that will result in 80000 people doing OSS development in one form or another. The answer of course also depends on how you actually define "open source commiter"? Is it a person working on a major project? Or also the person who publishes a small script for general usage on the personal home page?

You probably want to write to the CCC or Bitkom. They might have more hard-fact numbers to base such guestimate on than what is shared publicly.

If we want to expand to the world (just because we can) we have to make a few more assumptions: The above amounts to 1/1000 of the population, Now, this is the high-end concerning percentage of inhabitants, so assume half the number. If we now assume that maybe 3 to 4 billion people on the world have not enough access to computers to even persue such trade or hobby, thus half the planet's population misses out the opportunity: again half the fraction.

So overall 0.025% of the world population might produce open source which is like 1.5-2.0 million people.

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