Geeks With Blogs

The Life and Times of a Dev Yes, we're really that weird

Does open source really work?  I’m skeptical.  A perfect example is the open source project NDoc.  I’ve seen this with more than one project.  A project goes open source by a company, supposedly to accept outside contributors, but few open source projects have contributors outside of those that started the project.  At best, most successful open source projects only have a handful of contributors and are dependent upon large corporations funding development work on the project.


Here’s my take on why:


  1. Most people don’t care enough about stuff to contribute (NDoc, for example).  The people who care about it, wrote it.
  2. Most people capable of contributing are getting paid to write code, and most coder’s like money.  Some people are trying to get recognition and, as a result, contribute to support their ego.
  3. Many “open source” projects are VERY picky about what is included in the project (Linux).
  4. Most people using open source are doing so because it’s free (i.e. they’re cheap), not because they have any desire to do anything else with the code (most of my former bosses).

I’d love to find out the demographics of people that consume open source but never contribute.  Do they also not donate to charity?  Do they use pirated music (after all, shouldn’t music be open source)? 


I think people should be paid for good work, but much of open source disagrees with me.  Am I missing something?

Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 10:17 AM Work | Back to top

Comments on this post: I'm sure this won't win me any friends . . .

# re: I'm sure this won't win me any friends . . .
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi there, please visit my page too. Thanks!
Left by halloween costume on Sep 21, 2007 8:35 PM

# re: I'm sure this won't win me any friends . . .
Requesting Gravatar...
Thanks for stuff.I was looking at the material a long time.
Left by Maclaren Stroller on Oct 21, 2007 7:07 PM

# re: I'm sure this won't win me any friends . . .
Requesting Gravatar...
I totally agree with this idea. It is really essential to recognize a person's good work. - Antiquities of California
Left by Jon Curtney on Feb 10, 2017 5:08 PM

Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)

Copyright © Robert May | Powered by: