For decades, proprietary software reigned supreme. Companies guarded their code fiercely, fostering a culture of secrecy and limiting collaboration. But a revolution is brewing. Open source software, with its transparent and collaborative nature, is rapidly transforming the software development landscape in Australia, and globally.

This blog delves into the exciting world of open-source in software development in Australia. We'll explore the key trends, the driving forces behind its rise, and the undeniable benefits it brings to developers, businesses, and the entire tech ecosystem.


The Rise of Open Source: A Global Movement Taking Root Down Under

Open source software (OSS) is a software with its source code freely available for anyone to inspect, change, and distribute. This collaborative approach fosters innovation at an unprecedented pace. While open source has been around for decades, its impact has seen a phenomenal surge in recent years.

According to a 2023 GitHub report, a whopping 90% of companies globally are now using open source software. The Australian tech scene reflects this trend. A thriving developer community actively contributes to and uses open source solutions.

This rise in popularity can be attributed to several factors:

a. Cost-effectiveness: Open source cuts expensive licensing fees, making it a budget-friendly choice for businesses and individual developers alike.

b. Transparency and Security: Open source code is constantly scrutinised by a global community of developers, leading to increased security and a lower risk of hidden vulnerabilities.

c. Flexibility and Customisation: Businesses can easily customise open source software to suit their specific needs, offering greater adaptability compared to proprietary solutions.

d. Innovation and Collaboration: Open source fosters a collaborative environment where developers worldwide can contribute, leading to faster development cycles and groundbreaking innovations.

Australia, with its vibrant tech scene and focus on innovation, has become a fertile ground for open source projects.

Top Open Source Trends Shaping Australia's Tech Landscape

Several key trends are shaping the future of open source software development in Australia.


1. Rise of Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Automation with Terraform and Ansible

Traditionally, managing infrastructure (servers, networks, storage) involved manual configuration, a time-consuming and error-prone process. This is where Infrastructure as Code (IaC) comes in.

IaC treats infrastructure like software. Instead of manual configuration, IaC defines infrastructure using code files (like YAML or JSON). These files describe the desired state of your infrastructure, including resources, configurations, and dependencies.

Popular IaC Tools:

a. Terraform: Developed by HashiCorp, Terraform is a high-level, declarative IaC tool. It allows you to define your infrastructure in a human-readable format, and then Terraform translates it into the proper API calls for specific cloud providers or infrastructure platforms (e.g., AWS, Azure, GCP). Terraform focuses on infrastructure provisioning and orchestration.

b. Ansible: Ansible is another popular IaC tool developed by Red Hat. It uses a more agent-based approach where Ansible "agents" are installed on your infrastructure nodes (servers) and then use a powerful scripting language (YAML with Jinja2 templating) to configure and manage those nodes. Ansible offers greater flexibility for configuring and managing infrastructure beyond just provisioning.

The adoption of IaC is rapidly growing as developers embrace automation and repeatable deployments. IaC offers many benefits for both developers and operations teams, promoting efficiency, consistency, and collaboration in managing infrastructure.

2. Cloud-Native Development and the Rise of Open Source Cloud Platforms

The modern software landscape is rapidly shifting towards cloud-based solutions. Cloud-native development refers to the approach of building and deploying applications specifically designed to run in a cloud environment. This approach emphasises scalability, flexibility, and resilience – key factors for success in today's dynamic market.

Open source cloud platforms like OpenStack and Kubernetes play a crucial role in cloud-native development by providing the foundation for building and managing these applications.

a. OpenStack: OpenStack is a free and open source software platform for creating and managing cloud infrastructure. It provides a set of APIs and services that control the provisioning and management of virtual machines, storage, networking, and other cloud resources. By using OpenStack, developers can build and deploy applications on a scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure, without vendor lock-in (reliance on a single cloud provider). OpenStack offers a high degree of customisation, allowing developers to tailor the cloud environment to their specific needs.

b. Kubernetes: Containerisation has become a cornerstone of cloud-native development. Docker containers package applications with all their dependencies into a lightweight, portable unit, enabling faster deployments and easier scaling. Kubernetes is an open source system specifically designed for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerised applications. It allows developers to manage complex deployments across multiple containers, ensuring efficient resource use and high availability of applications.

Open source cloud platforms are here to stay. As cloud-native development continues to evolve, we can expect to see further advancements in open-source solutions. These advancements will likely focus on:

a. Security Enhancements: Open source platforms will continue to prioritise security features to address evolving threats in the cloud landscape.

b. Improved Management Tools: User-friendly tools will simplify the management and orchestration of complex cloud deployments.

c. Integration with Emerging Technologies: Open source cloud platforms will likely integrate seamlessly with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

By embracing open source cloud platforms like OpenStack and Kubernetes, businesses and developers can use the benefits of cloud-native development and build scalable, flexible, and future-proof applications.


3. Growth of Open Source Security Tools

The ever-growing complexity of software and the constant threat of cyberattacks need a proactive approach to security. Open source security tools are appearing as a powerful weapon in the developer's arsenal, promoting "security by design" principles.

a. Modern Software Complexity: Modern applications are intricate combinations of libraries, frameworks, and third-party code. This complexity increases the attack surface and makes vulnerabilities harder to detect.

b. Shift-Left Security: Security can no longer be an afterthought. Shifting security "left" means integrating it into the entire development lifecycle, from design to deployment.

c. Cost-Effectiveness: Open source security tools offer a cost-effective way for developers to find and address vulnerabilities early in the development process.

Popular Open-Source Security Tools:

a. OWASP ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy): Developed by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), ZAP is a free and open-source web application security scanner. It allows developers to manually or automatically test web applications for vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and broken authentication. ZAP offers a user-friendly interface and extensive customization options, making it a valuable tool for developers of all skill levels.

b. OpenVAS: OpenVAS is another popular open-source vulnerability scanner that can be used to assess security vulnerabilities in networks, operating systems, and applications. It provides a comprehensive vulnerability database and allows for scheduled scans to find and track vulnerabilities over time. OpenVAS works well for system administrators and security professionals looking to assess the overall security posture of their infrastructure.

These are just two examples, and a wide range of open-source security tools exist, addressing various security needs, including:

a. Static Application Security Testing (SAST): Tools like Cppcheck (for C/C++ code) and SpotBugs (for Java) analyse code to find potential vulnerabilities without executing it.

b. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST): Tools like Burp Suite (commercial with a free community edition) and Acunetix (commercial with a free community edition) simulate real-world attacks to find vulnerabilities in running applications.

c. Software Composition Analysis (SCA): Tools like Snyk and FOSSA analyse dependencies within your project to find known vulnerabilities in third-party libraries and frameworks.

The open source security landscape is constantly evolving. Here are some trends we can expect:

a. Integration with Development Tools: Security tools will be seamlessly integrated into popular development environments (IDEs) for a more streamlined workflow.

b. Focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI and machine learning will be used to automate vulnerability detection and prioritise critical issues.

c. Improved Cloud Security: Open source tools will adapt to address the unique security challenges of cloud environments.

By using open source security tools, developers can proactively build secure software, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities and protecting sensitive user data. This fosters a "security by design" approach, where security is ingrained throughout the development process.

4. Flourishing Open-Source Community: Australian Developers Leading the Charge

Australia is seeing a surge in developer participation within the global open source community. This active involvement goes beyond simply using existing tools; Australian developers are taking centre stage, contributing to and leading open source projects, fostering a vibrant community spirit within the tech industry.

Australian developers gain recognition for their contributions to critical open source projects. This can lead to career opportunities and enhance the reputation of the Australian tech industry on a global scale.

Dynamics of the Australian Open Source Community:

a. Local Events and Meetups: Numerous meetups, conferences, and hackathons focused on open source are held across Australia. These events provide a platform for developers to learn, connect, and collaborate on open source projects.

b. Support Organisations: Organisations like Linux Australia, Girl Geek Academy, and Open Source Victoria plays a crucial role in promoting open source education, events, and initiatives. They offer resources, workshops, and mentorship programs to empower developers of all skill levels to take part in the open source ecosystem.

c. Global Collaboration: While local events foster community spirit, Australian developers actively take part in major international open source projects on platforms like GitHub. This global collaboration allows them to gain experience, contribute to innovative technology, and build a strong network of peers worldwide.

The future of the Australian open source community is bright. As more developers embrace open source principles and actively contribute, we can expect to see:

a. Growth in Project Leadership: Australian developers will increasingly take ownership and leadership roles in prominent open source projects, shaping the future of technology.

b. Focus on Diversity and Inclusion: Efforts will be made to create a more inclusive environment, encouraging developers from all backgrounds to take part and contribute to open source projects.

c. Integration with Education: Open source education will be further integrated into university curriculums and developer training programs, equipping the next generation of developers with the skills and knowledge to thrive in the open source world.

By fostering a collaborative and vibrant open source community, Australia is positioning itself as a leader in the global tech landscape. This will attract talent, drive innovation, and ensure Australian developers continue to play a significant role in shaping the future of software development.


Open Source: A Win-Win for Developers and Businesses

The benefits of open source extend far beyond cost savings. Here's how both developers and businesses can use the power of open source.

For Developers:

a. Access to Cutting-Edge Technology: Open source provides developers with access to the latest advancements and libraries, allowing them to stay ahead of the curve.

b. Professional Development and Collaboration: Active participation in open source projects build valuable skills, broadens developer networks, and fosters collaboration on a global scale.

c. Career Opportunities: Ability in popular open source technologies are increasingly sought after, making developers more attractive candidates to potential employers.

For Businesses:

a. Reduced Development Costs: Open source cuts licensing fees and allows businesses to use pre-built, high-quality code, leading to significant cost savings.

b. Increased Innovation and Agility: Open source fosters faster development cycles and allows businesses to quickly adapt to changing market demands.

c. Enhanced Security: The collaborative nature of open source leads to more robust and secure code due to constant community scrutiny.

d. Access to a Global Talent Pool: Open source projects attract skilled developers worldwide, allowing businesses to tap into a wider talent pool when hiring.

Australian Open Source Success Stories: Shining a Light on Innovation

Australia boasts a thriving open source ecosystem with many successful projects contributing to the global tech landscape.


Developed by Apache Software Foundation, Mesos is an open source cluster manager originally created by Australian engineers at Airbnb. It enables efficient resource sharing across clusters, making it a valuable tool for large-scale distributed systems.


Redis, an in-memory data store developed by Salvatore Sanfilippo, an Italian developer with a significant Australian presence, has become a cornerstone for many modern applications. It offers blazing-fast performance and flexibility, making it ideal for caching, real-time data processing, and messaging.


This open source, Windows-compatible operating system spearheaded by a global community (including a strong Australian contingent), provides a free and open alternative to Windows. While primarily used for educational purposes and legacy system compatibility, ReactOS highlights the power of collaborative open source development.

Atlassian Open-Source Projects

Australian software giant Atlassian has actively contributed to the open source community with projects like Confluence, a popular wiki and collaboration platform, and Jira, a leading issue and project tracking software. These projects have empowered millions of developers and businesses worldwide.

Aussie-led Open Source Initiatives

Beyond specific projects, Australia fosters vibrant open source communities. Organisations like Linux Australia and Girl Geek Academy play a crucial role in promoting open source education, events, and initiatives, nurturing the next generation of developers and fostering a collaborative environment.

These success stories highlight the significant impact of Australian developers on the global open source landscape. Open source fosters innovation, drives collaboration, and empowers businesses to build better software.


The Future of Open Source in Australia: What Lies Ahead?

Several trends are expected to shape the future of open source in Australia:

a. Increased Focus on Open Source Governance: With growing adoption, open source projects will require robust governance models to ensure code quality, keep project direction, and manage contributions effectively.

b. Integration of Open Source with Emerging Technologies: Open source will play a crucial role in the development and adoption of emerging technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

c. Rise of the "Citizen Developer": As low-code and no-code open source tools become more accessible, even individuals with limited coding experience can contribute to open source projects, further democratising development.

The rise of open source presents an exciting opportunity for both developers and businesses in Australia. Whether you're a developer looking to hone your skills, contribute to innovative projects, or a business owner looking for cost-effective and innovative solutions, open source has something to offer.

Northbridge Recruitment is your trusted partner in finding top software development talent with ability in open-source technologies. Contact us today and let our team help you build your dream team for the future. For IT professionals, Northbridge Recruitment offers a wealth of resources and insights into the IT industry across Australia. Explore our job board for the latest open source development opportunities and stay updated on industry trends with our blog.

Embrace the open source revolution. The future of software development is collaborative, innovative, and built on open source principles.


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