Scarf Gateway tracks the use of open source software

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Scarf has abandoned stealth today to launch a gateway that makes it easier for individuals or organizations to track the use of open source software.

Avi Press, founder of Scarf, said the Gateway Scarf is an online service through which open source software vendors can redirect downloads from a wide variety of repositories and registries. This additional step then provides these entities with data and information about the type of individuals and organizations using their software.

After raising the initial funding, Press said the Scarf Gateway will make it easier for open source software developers to use multiple repositories to distribute their code, as they won’t become too reliant on metrics shared by a repository vendor. unique.

Most of these registries today only provide the number of downloads for packages. Scarf Gateway will provide information on, among other attributes, downloads by version, platform, location, company, and cloud environment (s).

The majority of organizations that make open source software available do not have much visibility into how their offerings are being used until the organizations using the software sign up for commercial support. Armed with more information about how their software is used, many of these vendors would be able to gather feedback more proactively, in addition to promoting their business services.

Many open-source project managers struggle to prioritize which capabilities to add or correct, simply because they don’t know enough about how their software is being used, Press said.

The ability to track usage in a more granular fashion comes at a time when tensions over monetization and open source clearing are increasing. In many cases, open source software vendors are changing the way they license their software to prevent cloud service providers from reaping most of the benefits from their work. Startups, typically funded by venture capitalists, make their software available as open source with the goal of building a customer base on the strength of their support services. Cloud service providers discovered that they could use code created by these providers to launch their own service. These cloud service providers can contribute to the code for the project, but the start-up provider usually does not receive any of the economic benefits.

Many individual contributors do not work for a company that sponsors their contributions and also want to be paid for their efforts. A survey of 4,440 developers who were actively involved in open source projects in 2020 found that more than half (54%) of those surveyed said they felt that individuals should be paid for their contributions to projects. open source. The survey, conducted by Digital Ocean, a cloud service provider, found that only 14% of respondents are currently paid for their contributions.

It is too early to say what impact the ability to track the use of open source software may have. Many people using open source software may prefer their current level of anonymity. Others might get more involved in a project if they are hired. Like it or not, however, large swathes of the open source community want to know how their efforts are making a real difference.

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