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Geographic Diversity in Public Code Contributions

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Abstract

We conduct an exploratory, large-scale, longitudinal study of 50 years of commits to publicly available version control system repositories, in order to characterize the geographic diversity of contributors to public code and its evolution over time. We analyze in total 2.2 billion commits collected by Software Heritage from 160 million projects and authored by 43 million authors during the 1971-2021 time period. We geolocate developers to 12 world regions derived from the United Nation geoscheme, using as signals email top-level domains, author names compared with names distributions around the world, and UTC offsets mined from commit metadata. We find evidence of the early dominance of North America in open source software, later joined by Europe. After that period, the geographic diversity in public code has been constantly increasing. We also identify relevant historical shifts related to the UNIX wars, the increase of coding literacy in Central and South Asia, and broader phenomena like colonialism and people movement across countries (immigration/emigration).
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Dates and versions

hal-03622621 , version 1 (29-03-2022)

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Davide Rossi, Stefano Zacchiroli. Geographic Diversity in Public Code Contributions: An Exploratory Large-Scale Study Over 50 Years. The 2022 Mining Software Repositories Conference, May 2022, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. ⟨10.1145/3524842.3528471⟩. ⟨hal-03622621⟩
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