Open Source Developer: Will Work for Food!

Discussions

News: Open Source Developer: Will Work for Food!

  1. Open Source Developer: Will Work for Food! (19 messages)

    Richard Monson-Haefel posted an entry on "Open Source Developer: Will Work for Food!".

    His main point is that "The difference between open source developers and commercial developers is the pretty much the same as the difference between a starving fine artist and a fat and happy commercial artist. The commercial artist, if she is any good, is probably paid a decent amount for creating logos, advertising, album covers and such things for someone else. A person who creates fine art, on the other hand, isn't likely to make more than a pittance even if they are lucky enough to get a show. While it's true that that some fine artists make it big, this is relatively rare when you look at the whole population. So why do people choose to create fine art, rather than commercial art? Freedom. Fine artists get to work when they want, create what they want, take credit for their work, and in the end enjoy the public scrutiny of their peers."

    Read Richard Monson-Haefel on Open Source Developer: Will Work for Food!

    Andy Oliver (who makes a living in open source) has spoken out about the entry in
    RMH FUDs open source

    Threaded Messages (19)

  2. nice headline but where's the beef[ Go to top ]

    Though the comparison is colorfull and looks witty at first, it will not withstand any second thought.

    At least I don't feel like a starving fine artist.

    Regards,
    Tom Baeyens
    Founder jBpm.org
  3. Finally someone speaking[ Go to top ]

    Hi

       I would like to express my sincere thanks to Richard. I have been thinking and talking about this with my friends, if I had written this comment no one would have heard about this.

       I lost my job after the bubble burst. I tried to get one and could not. I wanted to contribute to Open Source, but it does not pay. To start on a already successful open source project it takes so much learning curve and lots of effort. I like/love opensource products, I use them a lot.

       In my opinion open source is for someone who can work for free initially or who gets paid by their employer for opensource contributions.

       I think it is time for software developers to change their tactics, start using open source software and apply it at customer sites and get paid. No more money for developing cool software like OS kernels, compilers etc, App servers etc.


    Thanks
  4. Finally someone speaking[ Go to top ]

    Good point. I probably do most of my open source work on project time, not because I'm getting paid to work on open source projects like Struts, but rather I need to Struts to do something it doesn't for my paid contract and I might as well submit it back to the community. The point is the code gets developed regardless, the question is whether I give it back or not. Ensuring the success of a project like Struts makes my paid project better.
  5. Open Source does not mean Free[ Go to top ]

    I do not think that open source has anything to do with free.
    I think Free Software is another concept which some how is linked to open source.

    Idea about open source was:

    Code is Open
    Less Risk
    You can see for yourself that there is nothing hidden
    Obviously you can build it, but some time, legal contracts will not allow you to do that.

    Free Software is all about other stuffs that you can read at www.gnu.org
    i.e. Free as in Freedom

    My .02c
  6. Open Source does not mean Free[ Go to top ]

    I think Free Software is another concept which some how is linked to open source.

    >

    Man I feel like the professor digging old history to give some perspective.

    Free software and GNU and FSF is not "somehow linked to open source", Free Software was the birth of open source.

    There are 2 historical families of "open source licenses" (OSS starts with licenses). The FSF licenses (GPL/LGPL) and the Berkely 'Academic licenses" (BSD and derivatives).

    It is almost ironic to see that Free Software licenses have led to business (linux, mysql, JBoss and family) while academic licenses are more difficult. Mr Stallman would approve.

    Welcome to a GNU world.

    marcf
  7. Good point[ Go to top ]

    I don't think this is beefless, but what the author fails to also realize is that the larges OSource projects have corporate backing. All of the major players on Eclipse are IBM backed with IBM paychecks.

    Still though, I see the beef in that most OSource developers do so for nothing. However like anything in life, you should choose to do it when the benefits are clear to you. This is my opinion, and I've considered it for consulting, PR, meeting other developers, and skills development on my end.

    Good article.
  8. All about Ego?[ Go to top ]

    RMH seems to think OSS is all about ego. Although ego is a strong player, it isn't even close to the sole reason people contribute. I talk about this more on our blog.


    Bill
  9. Bills Post ...[ Go to top ]

    Excellent post .

    Point taken : "it is a good idea to stay away from OSS projects that are all about ego."

    There are several cases on this on sourceforge. I dont want to name them an start a fight.
  10. Open Source as a business[ Go to top ]

    People make money when they are paid by someone else. Obvious statement, but there are a lot more dollars spent on the commercial software space than the open source space today. That means there are more developers making more money in commercial software than open source software right now. There are obvious examples of commercial developers (Bill Gates, Larry Ellison) and open source developers (making money Miguel de Icaza (Ximian), Michael Olsen (Sleepycat), "Monty" Widenius and David Axmark (MySQL)) making money. But the scale is a bit skewed because commercial software just has more money and is getting a bigger piece of the pie.

    After Linux with Red Hat and SUSE being successful, there is a second generation of open source coming to the infrastructure space. MySQL and JBoss both have a business and money angle at our open source projects. JBoss is making money because we are making open source safe for commercial use by selling the services and providing the business structure that customers are willing to pay money for.

    This means the balance of the money flow is shifting from commercial software to open source. It is still early, but it means there is now more money to pay open source developers.

    At JBoss for example, we now have the funds flowing in that allow us to hire real open source developers and let them really focus on open source development. So folks like Gavin King, Bela Ban, Ben Wang, Remy Maucherat, Andy Oliver, and others can do open source and not have to be "starving artists".

    One final comment. I think that there is less difference than people think between open source and commercial developers. There are very committed, hard working people on both sides. Just because someone makes more money than another person does not make them a better or worse artist or their art any finer (I disagree with the original poster implying "fine art vs. commercial art"). Open source does have the eventual advantage of attracting highly talented people and is a better development process with broader appeal that will slowly eat away at closed commercial source.

    Bob Bickel
    JBoss
  11. Open Source as a business[ Go to top ]

    At JBoss for example, we now have the funds flowing in that allow us to hire real open source developers and let them really focus on open source development. So folks like Gavin King, Bela Ban, Ben Wang, Remy Maucherat, Andy Oliver, and others can do open source and not have to be "starving artists".

    >

    Yes, I remember when I started JBoss I wanted to find funding to do the work. It didn't really work, professional open source wasn't invented yet.

    Ironically, instead I ran into a guy that said he would find money for me and sent him my resume. How naive and how badly burnt I got. That guy got startup funding and instead tried forking JBoss like 3 years ago. He did it by hiring RMH away. That project was OpenEJB. RMH took that fistful of dollars and ran to the music of "oooh oooooh take the money and run".

    I know business is business and bygones are bygones but come on now...How am I supposed to sit here and read his thoughts about open source and the lack of money?

    I am personally very proud that we can pay for the new generation of Open Source coders and that we survived through countless little betrayals and petty schemes. The best developers like those you mention are capable of producing amazing amounts of quality code in open source. We do have an edge. I am glad professional open source is a reality, and that you are helping making it real bob. (BTW, Bob was General Manager of the middleware division at HP before joining our crusade :)

    > One final comment. I think that there is less difference than people think between open source and commercial developers.
    >

    I agree and will blog about that. I am also afraid that at the end of the day JBoss will be just another corporation.

    marcf

    (JBoss ;)
  12. stupid analogy....[ Go to top ]

    most of the open source developers work in the corporate world and are doing open source for the following reasons:

    1. Sponcered by the employer

    2. There is not enough Business code to be developed(Please read this as the timelines and the process generally set for Corporate projects are so wide that you end up spending only a couple of hours on real corporate code that is going to be used ) . the smart guy spends the rest of time reading and pursuing other interests(Open source).

    3. To create a BRAND for your name , make your name known to the outside world so that your resumen looks good.

    4. Enterprenuership.
  13. Open source developers[ Go to top ]

    Does any other sector in any industry have a parallel ? (like
    "Open race car design" or
    "Open Chemical formula etc. for AIDS drug Manufacturing" )
  14. Actually yes.[ Go to top ]

    "Open race car design" or

    > "Open Chemical formula etc. for AIDS drug Manufacturing" )

    Yes. Not in race cars or manufacturing. What in software is a lot like manufacturing? Do you still believe this is a science???

    Ironically, I have an easier time explaining open source to those not engaged in IT. I once thought this guy in a bar who was a claims adjuster would have a hard time understanding it. He said "Hell no, we give everything away: software, hardware, forms, you name it." as all of it results in more insurance companies using their service for claims adjustment.

    So in truth, its a pretty tried and true business model. Its just software developers still think they're making cars or houses or something.

    Let me ask you this. Can I get a license to use you? Can I buy you as a unit? :-P
  15. "quid pro quo" philosophy[ Go to top ]

    As far as I'm concern, the main issue with open source software is the one of the "quid pro quo". Freedom is great but when you have 5 developers working on behalf of dozens of other technology free riders, the business model does not work any more. So open source projects are great for infrastructure projects where everybody has a common interest to work together. It is also great to create some de facto standard or to commoditize a technology where large software vendors havean interest to "freely" finance such a project. Less for ready to use finished software products because then it really become difficult to enforce a "something for something" agreement.

    This is exactly the remarks MySQL is now doing while trying to see how to adjust its business model (dual licensing while enforcing a very strong viral effect). Some recent interesting threads about it:
    http://www.edwardbear.org/serendipity/archives/1193_My_Beef_with_MySQLs_License.html
    http://zak.greant.com/archives/cat_licensing.html

    And you exactly reach here the limit of "freedom" because you are more beginning to try to play with the OSI license in order to find some possible commercial business model around it...

    In our case, we directly preffered saying to our customers that there were some royalties on certain kind of use (internal use, commercial use) BUT that he could also pay his license fee in kind by involving himself in the community. Passive users are then "taxed" (kind of "unvalue added taxes" mechansim) while active users do not see any difference with a standard open source project. Cash revenues can then help the software editor finance a dedicated long term focus team of developers on the project. This is what we are calling "collaborative sourcing". We are now in the process of opening a new web site that will more clearly explain and define what is collaborative sourcing from a general manner(http://www.collaborativesource.org).

    Stephane
    Jahia (www.jahia.org)
  16. Open Source as a Marketing Tool[ Go to top ]

    Hi,

    RMH made a lot of interesting points. I'd like to add one:

    My profession is consulting on software development techniques, methods and tools. I work with project teams in large projects, using model driven architecture.

    I founded the open source project AndroMDA (http://www.andromda.org) to show the world...
    * how simple and effective MDA can be
    * my expertise in MDA
    * the style how I communicate and lead a project

    So, AndroMDA is a first class marketing tool for my services and the best thing about it is: It is fun and fascinating at the same time to work with so many other skilled people, having no constraints on release dates, creating software that is architecturally beautiful.

    My .02 €
    Matthias
  17. I think part of this discussion is also about the scale of the company or project. Andy talks about "cube farms." Richard talks about "freedom." Leif mentions "corporate backing." Marc says he's "afraid that at the end of the day JBoss will be just another corporation."

    Nowadays, open source can be done in cube farms with the workers being full-time corporate employees that only work on certain corporate-backed open source projects.

    At the same time, I know a number of startups here in Boston (some open source, some commercial) that are hoping to eventually earn enough to be able to claim they are "working for food," and they are doing what they are doing primarily for the joy of it.

    I think my favorite open source projects are the ones that manage to get to the point of being widely useful before they lose that initial spark, before they lose that joy of development that drove the projects in the first place. Look at Hibernate, jEdit, Spring, Groovy, Ant, ... the list seems endless.

    When you stop and think about how this industry has literally exploded (as in "bloomed") in the years since "enterprise Java" because a buzzword, it really is mind-boggling. I remember the first J2EE open source projects starting up ... what was the one (enhydra?) that was open, then closed, then -- wait -- maybe they're open again, then closed, and then out of business or something and now they're open again. There was JBoss and Jonas and Tomcat (the old RI).

    I mean, think about it. Ten years ago, we had to choose between VB, VC++, BC++ and PowerBuilder, and everything ran on Windows. Did I miss anything? Nowadays, in the Java world, there are at least a half dozen good JVM providers, editors, IDEs, CM systems, web servers, app servers, databases, ORM libs, etc. and basically every category has a selection of several open source and commercial solutions. Most all of them run on the top dozen hardware/OS platforms. Even Mac is back in the game for developers.

    It really is unbelievable. Any way you look at it, this is a pretty cool industry to play in, and it's grown quite a bit in its very short life so far. So who cares if some open source developers do it for ego, for a cube-fed pay check, for the fun of it, for the resume, for their own use, or because they are Professional Open Source (TM? ;-) ... as long as it's continuing to build a healthy and vibrant industry.

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  18. When you stop and think about how this industry has literally exploded (as in "bloomed") in the years since "enterprise Java" because a buzzword, it really is mind-boggling. I remember the first J2EE open source projects starting up ...

    >

    Cameron I am all weepy. You are so right man, it's beautiful, it's bloomed, you are so right man, I can feel it too, that halo, that love, we are all lovely, we are all beautiful. Right on mr garison.

    You go easy on that MDMA will you? but do pass the dutchie on your left hand side.

    Peace, Love and Good Code,

    man...

    marcf
     
    > Peace,
    >
    > Cameron Purdy
    > Tangosol, Inc.
    > Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  19. marc: Cameron I am all weepy. You are so right man, it's beautiful, it's bloomed, you are so right man, I can feel it too, that halo, that love, we are all lovely, we are all beautiful.

    Imagine it, Marc, an industry big enough that it has room for you ;-)

    marc: You go easy on that MDMA will you? but do pass the dutchie on your left hand side.

    At least you remember the right direction ...

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol, Inc.
    Coherence: Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!
  20. Imagine it, Marc, an industry big enough that it has room for you ;-)


    he he, touche

    > Cameron Purdy Clustered JCache for Grid Computing!

    You are setting a new record for density of buzz word in a sentence.

    Man I am bored of TSS, nothing going on. Threads with 10 posts. I will take a break from TSS :)