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Year in Review



“Sharing is Caring” 

2020 has been a year like no other. All of us have been affected in many ways and to different degrees and had to find solutions to deal with the pandemic. At the same time, this crisis has underlined the significance of co-innovation driven by open science, open data, and open source. Scientists readily sharing the genome of the virus right from the beginning jumpstarted world-wide research into the virus, the diagnostic testing, and the vaccines that have since been developed. Opensource enthusiasts from all over the world have teamed up to contribute to fighting the disease with applications for tracing contacts, speeding up test result notifications, and helping to find volunteering opportunities to support local communities. One of these applications is the German Corona-Warn-App that has been jointly developed by SAP SE and Deutsche Telekom. 

This blog post miniseries is intended as a high-level summary of SAP’s open source engagement in 2020: 

  • Part 1 – Contributions to Open Source 

  • Part 2 – Examples of SAP Open Source Projects 

  • Part 3 – Empowering our Developers

  • Part 4 – External Communication about SAP Open Source


“Run better together with Open Source” 


Part 1 - Contributions to Open Source 


According to the Open Source Contributor Index (OSCI), 1790 of our developers contributed to open source on in 2020, turning SAP into the ninth largest commercial contributor to open source. This substantial number of contributions would not have been possible without our open source partnerships/foundations and without our proven outbound open source process. 

Open Source Partnerships/Foundations 

SAP is an active member of numerous open source foundations and open standards organizations:  

Some of the open source projects of these foundations that SAP contributes to will be highlighted in part two of our miniseries. Here are some examples of whom the SAP Open Source Program Office cooperated with in 2020: 

Eclipse Foundation’s Move to Europe  

As one of four founding EU companies of the Belgian international nonprofit association AISBL based in Brussels, SAP has actively supported the Eclipse Foundation’s Transitions to EU-based Governance. As one of four founding EU companies, SAP in 2020 has actively supported the Eclipse Foundation’s Transitions to EU-based Governance as a Belgian international nonprofit association AISBL based in Brussels. Juergen Mueller, Chief Technology Officer and member of the Executive Board, says: “The Eclipse Foundation has a long track record of fostering industry collaboration between global organizations and developers who share the goal of creating scalable open source software. As a founding strategic member of the Eclipse Foundation, SAP actively participates in several Eclipse projects and working groups. With the legal move of the Eclipse Foundation to Brussels, we expect more international collaboration across industries in an open environment. We look forward to collaborating with members from around the world to create and innovate together.”  

Bitkom Open Source Monitor 

SAP was a sponsor and an active contributor to Bitkom's (Germany’s digital association) first open source survey and the resulting study Open Source Monitor”, published in 2020 and underpinned by expert statements from the sponsors. We are looking forward to actively supporting the new study in 2021, which will again provide an overview of the status and changes of open source among German companies.

TODO Group publication about pros and cons of open source software 

The TODO Group, part of the Linux Foundation, is a great platform to exchange best practices for enterprise open source management. In September 2020, the publication “Why Open Source Matters to Your Enterprise” was released. This report about the business pros and cons of using open source software was a joint effort of several members of the European Chapter of the TODO group, with active participation of SAP. 

Outbound Open Source Process 

SAP’s outbound open source process specifies the guardrails for our developers for any contribution – regardless of it being for an SAP-driven open source project, or for third party-initiated open source projects. It has been designed to be as easy as possible to enable our developers to publish their code as open source software – without complicated processes and tool breaks. All steps, including the initial request, security scans, naming, and the final release are coordinated via GitHub, which contributed to speeding up the process itself, and to a higher acceptance of the process by our developers. 

Moreover, in 2020, we improved and standardized the copyright and license management for SAP-driven projects using the REUSE tool of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). 

We also simplified the process for third-party contributions to SAP-initiated open source projects by switching from our SAP-specific contributor license agreement (CLA) to the standard Developer Certificates of Origin (DCO), as established by the Linux Foundation.  

In addition, we significantly lowered the barrier for using SAP sample code by replacing our proprietary SAP sample code license with the standard Apache 2.0 license. 

German Corona Tracing App 

In April 2020, SAP and Deutsche Telekom were contracted by the German Government to build the COVID-19 tracing app “Corona-Warn-App” for Germany. A vital component of the request was to build all components as open source software. In an unprecedented team effort, SAP and Deutsche Telekom built up a dedicated organization on GitHub that hosts the entire source code as well as related documentation and background material in a noticeably brief time. Several months, 25 million downloads, countless community interactions, and several releases later, the app is still being improved by the teams at SAP and Deutsche Telekom with the help of the open source community. So, if you are based in Germany and have not downloaded the app to your mobile yet, please install it now and help to break infection chains! For more background information, tune in to our podcast episode about the Corona-Warn-App.  

Part two of this miniseries of blog posts will highlight some more of our open source projects and their 2020 achievements.