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How do you contribute to open source?

Full time
5% (21 votes)
Part time (at work)
11% (44 votes)
Moonlighting
25% (103 votes)
File Bugs
20% (80 votes)
Don't
39% (158 votes)
Total votes: 406

Comments

The Problem with proprietary

I think we must distinguish between proprietary and closed source. "proprietary" is software that does not obey accepted conventions, but rather creates it own standerds. Microsoft is infamous for doing this and going alone rather than supporting the rest of the industry. "closed source" is software that is simply not open source and can be easily sold for profit on the basis of making people pay to use it. Personally I think "closed source" software, while not necessarily bad, is an antiquitated buisness model that is inflexible and results in insecure, inflexible applications that have little room for optimization to meet a specific need. "proprietary" software however, is outright damaging to the computer industry. It is proprietary software that makes users' lives hell by preventing interoperability. The computer industry (mostly) overcame proprietary hardware in the last five years, result in drastically reduced prices and significantly improved hardware. With shared standerds produced by organizaes such as IEEE and IETF manufacturers no longer have to reinvent the wheel so to speak. I think the software industry, particularly companies such as Microsoft, would be wise to learn from the hardware industry in this respect.

file bugs?

It's interesting to see that more people "moonlight" (whatever that means) than file bugs. It suggests there is a percentage who download the stuff, try and use it, find a bug and discard it..

file bugs?

My guess is that lots of people work on their own open-source projects. Sometimes it is easier to write your own code than it is to learn somebody else's!

What's wrong with proprietary software?

Developers who work for a salary - 1) Start work at 8am with a fresh mind (instead of at 8pm, already tired out from the day job) 2) Place top priority on your project (instead of top priority on the day job) 3) Have more time to spend on your project. 4) Are able to eat (well-fed developers produce better code than those who have already died of starvation). Proprietary software makes sense to me. Consider the value proposition. Would you rather download something for free that doesn't really meet your needs, or would you rather pay $100 for something does meet your needs? It makes sense that reasonably priced software could provide greater value than free software. This is especially true if you consider that you may be paying people a salary to use the software. If the $100 software saves time and aggravation, and the time saved adds up to a value of $500 per developer, then you're ahead $400 per developer! Seems to me this debate always comes back to the same question - Which is better, huge evil monopolies or socialist utopia? And I always want to respond - why not something in between?

What's wrong with proprietary software?

Nothing wrong with proprietary software, but suppose your company needs some utility classes for which no existing software (free or commercial) is suitable. So you can either develop it yourself (and perhaps try and sell it as a product in its own right), or perhaps propose it as an Open Source project and develop it in conjunction with others having a similar need. The second choice may be commercially attractive if the utility is not a core part of your business (and which you are not in a position to market effectively). The pay back here would be potentially reduced costs of development and maintenance.

Probable Reasons

I guess not all of us have that much of free time. Some of us also are probably intimidated by a lot of very talented contributors in open source projects.

Why not?

I'm a little surprised that so many people don't work on any open source project. I would be interested to know what the reasons are.

Why not?

in Uni I had time, now.... no time!

Why not?

i can only speak for myself but the reason i haven't yet contributed to open-source despite being a full-time programmer are 1) don't want to program out-of-work time 2) not fully up-to-speed with how to go about it (just download and start hacking, and eventually propose a set of changes to some administrative team?) 3) normally faster just to suggest on the relevent website for a new feature/bug fix and it normally just *happens* overnight (or within a couple of weeks) 4) not found a project where i could contribute without committing to quite a lot of front work to get familiar with the project for example, i'm quite interested in commons-cli at the moment since it doesn't seem to conform to the getopts "standard" but haven't got time to look at the sources