How much are open-source developers really worth? Hundreds of billions of dollars, say economists

A new report finds that open-source technologies have huge potential, but it is still largely untapped.

For most developers who are familiar with open source, the value of the technology has long been tried and proven. The opportunity to both contribute to and take from a global pool of free code created by like-minded programmers fosters creativity and a sense of community – and of course, significantly accelerates the time that it takes for innovation to make its way from idea to reality.

But for many who only have a vague idea of what open source is really all about, using the technology is not typically considered as a useful way to build a new product or drive a business model. According to new research carried out by not-for-profit thinktank the OpenForum Europe (OFE), this could be costing the EU hundreds of billions of euros every year.