On Sun, Dec 20, 2009 at 10:21 AM, Phillip Gawlowski <pg / thimian.com> wrote:
> On 20.12.2009 16:16, Rick DeNatale wrote:
>
>> If you want to be paid to work on open source, the best bet seems to
>> be to find an employer who's willing to donate all or some of your
>> time to open source contributions.  ¨Βθε υσυαχαηεζοδοιξιτ
>> yourself seem to be enhanced reputation, and hopefully better chances
>> of finding work via consulting or as a resume enhancer for finding
>> more traditional employment.
>>
>
> An additional cave at is that prospective employers, willing to donate their
> employee's time to an open source project must have a need for the project
> themselves, otherwise it doesn't make a whole lot of business-sense.
> Altruism can be found in the corporate world, of course, but it's few and
> far between.

Although it might be the exception that a company employ someone to do
open source full time, it's far from unheard of.  Much more common is
to have a policy of setting some portion of employee's time aside for
open source contributions.  This goes along with a common practice of
letting employees have time to work on personal company projects, i.e.
projects which the employee believes would benefit the company but
don't have official status.  This has been done for a long time by
many technical companies for the development of engineers and
programmers, if nothing else.  There are a lot of companies which see
benefit in this, and at the top of the pyramid we have examples of
companies which either sponsor large open-source efforts themselves,
or hire open-source luminaries (e.g. Linus Torvalds) to fund a highly
visible open source project.

The real problem in funding a DIY open source effort is that, even if
there is benefit to the users of the effort, most are not willing to
step up to the plate and pitch in funding.  Kent's jUnit Max clearly
had value, but not many were willing to convert that to money.  In my
case, I know that there are lots of projects which need a robust RFC
2445 compliant icalendar implementation for Ruby, but few seem willing
to contribute financially.  My ability to support the project ebbs and
flows with how much paying work I have.  Although I love to work on
the project and other open source contributions, working on stuff
which actually puts bread on the table has much higher priority.

And in the case of a project like Eleanor's which is as I understand
it an alternative Ruby implementation, it's tough.  Sellling language
implementations, IDEs, and other programming tools for money is
getting more and more difficult since most of these things are
available for free or close to free these days:
http://talklikeaduck.denhaven2.com/2009/05/28/selling-shoes-to-the-shoemakers-children

And talking to some of my old buds who are still at IBM, it seems that
the corporate types who try to sell 'enterprise level' tools for lots
of money are having a hard time understanding this, and worse, are
trying to compete with lightweight tools, languages, and frameworks
for the current adopters of those lightweight developer goodies.



-- 
Rick DeNatale

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