Open Infrastructure for Sustainability

Planetary Care
Strategic Research
Open Infrastructure

Part of my Subak Fellowship.


Digital and sustainable transformations must converge to create a safe and just corridor for people and the planet. Open Sustainability Principles can help governments, research institutes, NGOs, and companies decarboniSe the economy, conserve natural resources, and prevent greenwashing through transparent and traceable decision-making.

Despite open-source culture's transformative impact, its potential for developing sustainable technologies is not well understood. This study provides the first analysis of the open-source software ecosystem in sustainability and climate technology. With Open Sustainable Technology, we collected thousands of open-source projects and organizations and analysed them qualitatively and quantitatively. This analysis indicates that open source still plays a minor role as a long-term transformation strategy in sustainability compared to other domains.

Half of all identified projects are in data-rich fields such as climate science, biosphere, energy system modelling, transportation and buildings. Carbon offsets, battery technology, sustainable investment, and emission observation show few developments. Green software is a newly emerging topic; most projects are young (4 years on average). Python and R dominate the ecosystem, and permissive licenses like MIT are preferred over GPLv3. Moreover, small open-source communities lead development and on average, a single developer makes 70% of OSS project contributions. Academia and some large government agencies contribute significantly to open source, while for-profit companies and startups with open-source business models are rare. Lastly, most OSS projects are in Europe and the US.

This report provides the empirical backbone for guiding community building, policy development, and future investment. Based on this analysis, we also offer recommendations for supporting OSS in sustainability.

Published in (and part of) Linux’s Foundation Energy and Sustainability https://www.linuxfoundation.org/projects/sustainability

We need a dream-world to discover the features
of the real world we think we inhabit.


I’m a London based strategic designer, and researcher. I’m interested in the boundary-muddlings of information, computation, minds and nature. My email is always open to ethersamplers, epistemic humorists, and ungoogleable souls.