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Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue

by romy_mathew (Beadle)
on Jul 05, 2011 at 20:48 UTC ( #912878=perlquestion: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??
romy_mathew has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Hi Monks,
Am just curious to know why do people like Larry n David Cross {Author of Template Toolkit} write free language and distribute for free. I do respect all who contribute but just want to know why the effort of these tedious work to be distributed for free......

Comment on Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Canon) on Jul 05, 2011 at 21:18 UTC

    David Cross {Author of Template Toolkit}
    Erm, Andy Wardley is the author of Template Toolkit.

Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Canon) on Jul 05, 2011 at 21:42 UTC

    want to know why the effort of these tedious work to be distributed for free
    I wouldn't describe it as tedious work. I expect most open source authors find their work creative and enjoyable. In any case, you seem to be asking: why Open Source software? There is much written on this topic already; see, for example the "Society and Culture" section from Open Source (wikipedia).

Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by luis.roca (Deacon) on Jul 05, 2011 at 21:44 UTC
Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by hossman (Prior) on Jul 06, 2011 at 00:14 UTC
Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by jethro (Monsignor) on Jul 06, 2011 at 08:41 UTC

    A few reasons:

    Altruism: They might find it rewarding to share.

    Tit for Tat: They might hope that if they share, others share with them

    Pride: They might think they get known for their work, their code could be used by many people

    See it this way: If you sit around a fire and are the only one with a pack of beer, would you share? Now if you share source code, the situation is even better: By sharing you are not losing anything, you still have your copy of the code.

      Releasing code and being active in the community is a great way of promoting yourself to potential employers, and showing them how awesome you are.
Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by zentara (Archbishop) on Jul 06, 2011 at 10:45 UTC
    why the effort of these tedious work to be distributed for free

    There is an old Tao saying: It is worth nothing, unless it is freely given

    It means that once money gets involved, it gets corrupted in one way or another, because of the greed factor. Happiness comes from freely giving without care for what you are going to get out of it.


    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
    Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh
Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by Tux (Monsignor) on Jul 06, 2011 at 11:11 UTC

    One more thing: if it is free, I as a maintainer am not forced to give support. If I care to ignore a feature request or a bug report, it is completely out of my own free will. As long as I am motivated to do maintenance, I will pick up on every report and see if "it" can be done or fixed. Once I lose interest, I can simply abandon the project and leave. It is open source, anyone else who cares can pick up after me.

    Once people start paying for the software, they do expect support, even if I do not have time or motivation. I simply do not want that.

    By doing thorough maintenance and making robust software available, I know that others are helped. They see that this all works and do the same. When they do I am helped too, and we all make eachothers lives easier and more fun. Someone of course has to start this process, but that was done before I even connected to the internet.


    Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

      ...if it is free, I as a maintainer am not forced to give support. If I care to ignore a feature request or a bug report...

      But the reverse is not true... Don't get me started on the lack of support from highly paid companies like... Ah you can guess a few names yourself :-)

      Paul

Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Jul 06, 2011 at 12:23 UTC

    You can be “richly compensated for” your time and efforts in ways that are far, far more important than money.   In this business, your work speaks volumes for you.   It might well be the only thing that does.   Your work is more important than who you have worked for, or what corner-offices you have sat in from time to time.   If you can say, “I wrote Template::Toolkit,” or DBI or what-have-you, or even that I was a significant contributor to it, then this speaks far more about you than any resume could possibly do.

    Then, there is also the reality that code contributions are, by far, the best way to move computer programming forward, to the benefit of the entire community as a group.   “A rising tide lifts all boats.”   Instead of hoping that enough people will buy your product to enable it to reach critical mass, you assure that the Perl system will reach and maintain critical mass, to the resulting benefit of everyone.   You can then make your money in plenty of other ways.

Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by ambrus (Abbot) on Jul 06, 2011 at 13:38 UTC

      Funny, he lived in Panorama City... only about 2.5 miles northwest of me in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, CA.

      I was going to respond in this thread earlier but never got the time until now.

      Some people donate their time to be little league baseball coaches. Some teachers host academic or other special interest clubs after school. Some enthusiasts learn to become HAM operators, and even happily teach others. I love sailing, and have gladly shown dozens of people their way around the deck and cockpit of a sailboat. My next door neighbor fixes up muscle cars just to drive them down to Burbank on Friday evenings occasionally.

      Some people love the challenge and exercise of programming; of finding a problem and then finding a solution to the problem. That others might be interested in the problem and its solution too is their reward, just as the volunteer baseball coach feels rewarded when his kids catch the spirit of the game.

      Other programmers see the value in places like CPAN. Everything there is uploaded for you to use for free. Each module represents anywhere from dozens to hundreds to thousands of hours of work, which represents a similar amount of time savings for the next person who uses them. But modules don't exist in a vacuum. Some modules build on others. Most co-exist with others in final programs. Lincoln Stein may have spent a LOT of time developing CGI, but he undoubtedly incorporated many modules into his own scripts that he didn't design himself. Therefore, while his contribution helped many others, the contributions of many others helped him.

      The value of a system that involves free archive and distribution is that it fosters innovation. And hopefully innovation fosters "getting things done efficiently."

      Our value as programmers may not be specifically in releasing code that is sold for profit, but rather in "getting things done." If we look at it from a profitability standpoint, we get more done at less expense when we all help each other along. In the Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith), he discusses the division of labor. Economists often discuss comparative advantage. The principle is that a person performs the portion of a task that they're good at. They may have a comparative advantage in that particular area (I'm combining two principles here). But for that area to be effective, someone else must be ready to take on other aspects of the production. Maybe I put the lacquer dot on the head of the pin. Maybe you polish the tip. Maybe someone else melts the steel. Well, in development we all produce more if people are allowed to specialize.

      The Perl community has found success in pushing innovation forward by allowing individuals to specialize. Individuals find the time to specialize because they don't have to worry about the areas they choose not to specialize in; there's a module for that by someone who chose that other area as one of his specialties. And like that, we "get things done", which is how we create compensable value.

      So maybe it's for fun, for profit, for satisfaction, for whatever... But all of those are good reasons. Just because work is shared doesn't mean it can't produce compensable value.


      Dave

Re: Why do People like larry or David Cross write free language and distribue
by runrig (Abbot) on Jul 06, 2011 at 18:45 UTC
    Why do people like me bother to answer questions on PerlMonks?

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