Thursday, February 25, 2010

My take on Dec's open source post.

I was going to post a comment to Declan's post about the yellow bubble open source developers and reflect on my experience. However, seeing as how my post for 2010 are below par, here is my first post for 2010!

Brians' comment struck very close to home in relation to my experience. It was only when I either worked for a company in a non technology sector or when I worked (almost) for myself, that I could freely contribute code, applications and snippets that I thought might be useful.

I'm glad that I did, as I feel as though I've returned something back to a community that had helped me along the way. I even tried, rather woefully I might add, to contribute to Peters .Scrum project, until it became very obvious that free time and energy are at a premium at this stage of my life, when other commitments like family, kids and a new job demand more. I see similar pressures effecting a number of the key members of the yellow open source bubble.

I guess that the sole focus of cutting code has given way to other pursuits and the new blood is not following in the footsteps troden by those before them.

Why is that ?

Well, for a start, there are more technologies to choose from to invest your free time. iPhone, Flex, Air, Silverlight, LAMP to name a few. One argument for proprietary software is that the developers are paid to build the software, where as open source developers will choose technology to invest their time in based on what is interesting and what is likely to be profitable, either financially, or in standing within a peer group that they wish to belong too. The argument goes, that majority of open source developers will follow the trend of what is popular and when the next shiny trend comes along, their contributions will follow, leaving behind older projects to go stale with little to no progress.

I guess that this isn't a yellow bubble only thing, but effects open source in general where the code continuation is pretty much down to the good will and enthusiasm of a few.

Of course having your contributions, reused without credit does little to motivate. The expectation from far flung locales that you will provide free and unlimited support to help their business simple because you have donated your time, intelect and energy in the hope of helping those who are keen to help themselves, rather than those that wish to be spoon fed - does little to encourage continued goodwill.

With all that in mind, would I contribute to open source again ?


When will that be ?