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If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it

by metaperl (Curate)
on Jan 22, 2009 at 16:56 UTC ( #738227=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

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Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by Corion (Pope) on Jan 22, 2009 at 17:06 UTC

    You are misrepresenting my statement. It was a statement in response to 738190, which was about:

    Can we have your guarantee on that? Not that bugs should remain fixable -- but rather that they will remain fixable?

    I never mentioned Perl as a programming language, or its status of being free. My offer is about a guarantee for support for parent.pm, not for support of parent.pm.

    So, while I welcome your contribution to this site and the topic, please don't display statements by me as if they were a strawman to the point you're trying to make when they're completely unrelated.

Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by moritz (Cardinal) on Jan 22, 2009 at 17:51 UTC

    Disclaimer: you could have heard roughly the same statement from me as you did from Corion.

    I do not feel that free software should lag behind in quality because whoever wrote it is not being paid.

    Neither do I, but the fact remains that to support your software as an OSS developer, you need all of

    • time
    • motivation
    • skills
    • organization

    (with "organization" I meant that she must not forget about the bug, how to reproduce it etc.)

    I do love free software, but I wouldn't go as far as making it the top priority in my live - which means that any of these points may suffer from "real life".

    So I would concur with Corion that if I were to guarantee that nothing gets in my way of fixing bugs, I'd have to promote the priority of the software, for example by making it my job - ie getting paid for.

    I have my ideals, but that doesn't mean that I have to ignore reality.

Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by mr_mischief (Monsignor) on Jan 22, 2009 at 18:43 UTC
    You make a false dichotomy between open and paid. It is quite possible to have closed software that is offered gratis. It is also quite possible to have open software that is developed partly or entirely for a fee.

    Corion wants some incentive to make guarantees for something he'd otherwise work on in his spare time, when he's not spending his time making a living. I think that's more than fair. He doesn't have to accept the request for guarantees at all. In fact, he doesn't have to fix bugs or provide the module in the first place. That he would consider a guarantee you can purchase from him is going well above and beyond what most authors of any type of software -- open, closed, free, pay, or whatever -- would consider. Most have waivers of warranty and use-as-you-can types of statements surrounding their code like a cocoon.

    A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.
Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on Jan 23, 2009 at 01:58 UTC

    The message of the OP smacks of forced servitude. No one should be punished or rebuked or even criticized for giving the terms on which they will do anything. The fact that donating time to develop software for others can be used as a guilt-club to try to force one to continue the effort frankly makes me want to not donate another second of time ever again. I know that isn't exactly what you were driving at but it's what comes out of it.

    Corion's attitude and remarks are exactly right in my mind. Giving something should not make one a slave to the service of that gift. We should instead evaluate it, appreciate it if its something we judge good, and leave it at that. Otherwise it all feels like a bad personal relationship with the implied bullying and childish emotional blackmail.

Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by brian_d_foy (Abbot) on Jan 25, 2009 at 21:46 UTC

    Besides completely misunderstanding the difference between free and open software, you also fundamentally misunderstand open source software.

    You have the source. You can modify it. If you need to fix something, you can. Your work is completely up to your own analysis of its benefits and costs to you.

    Open source does not mean, in any sense, that anyone else owes you anything. If you want to have someone do work that benefits you, you can compensate that person. You may think that the big open source projects are donations in time and energy, but the money is still there. The money isn't coming from every consumer, necessarily. Major players in Perl have had corporate support and fellowships to work directly on Perl. Many module authors are paid by their employer to contribute their work. Linux certainly was not 100% free labor. GNU isn't free labor. You just didn't see the people who were paying for it so the developers could eat food, sleep under a roof, and have a computer.

    If you force people to not be compensated for their work, you'll be left with the handful of virtually homeless Perl hackers and lose most of rest of the Perl community. After that, open source isn't all that great.

    As for your modules, it looks like most haven't seen a release in several years. From someone complaining about other people not updating modules and from someone claiming to have a higher moral standard, I call bullshit. After you demonstrate that you'll maintain your modules on an ongoing basis, then you can talk about maintaining modules.

    --
    brian d foy <brian@stonehenge.com>
    Subscribe to The Perl Review
Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Jan 27, 2009 at 14:17 UTC

    “Open source” and “free software” are not the same concept. Not really. In this world, nothing's free. We all get paid for what we do, one way or the other. The question is, what do we choose to “get paid” for?

    What we are dealing with, here and now, is cooperative software development. That is to say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” When we choose not to conceal the source-code of some (but not all...) things, and instead we choose to cooperate on the development of something that's bigger and better than any one of us could (re-)do by ourselves, we all benefit in obvious ways. We still get paid, but less money is being wasted on inferior and redundant effort.

    If you want to see the financial benefits of all this, just look at what's happening today in the “portable phone” sector. Astonishing advances are being made, with astonishing speed. Cross-platform compatibility is better than it has ever been. The reason for that is:   “open source.” Without that key innovation, what you're seeing right now would not be possible.

    As a consumer, I'm never going to want a car that I can service by myself, and I'm never going to embark upon a home-improvement project without hiring a contractor. My dad, on the other hand, loves to get his fingers greasy, and his best Christmas present is another power tool or a Home Depot gift-certificate. To each his own. So, I am not worried that “open source” is going to cause me to run out of clients. I'll continue to provide a high-grade service that it makes very good sense for them to want to continue to pay for. But using “open source” tools puts a better product in their hands, and more profit in mine.

[Unrelated comment] Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by Lawliet (Curate) on Jan 23, 2009 at 01:54 UTC

    This is the second node that I have read that has expanded to at least 17 replies today. The other one was an argument about ethics -- or something -- (it gets hard to pay attention to what is written when there are only 6 characters per line :P).

    And you didn't even know bears could type.

      Then perhaps you shouldn't have gone out of your way to set your maximum thread replies display depth to be as deep as you did.

      - tye        

        Ah, no, I am not complaining. I'd rather the tiny columns than an extra click to see more (which I can do anyway). I was just pointing out the happenstance.

        And you didn't even know bears could type.

Re: If you want a passionate open source life, you need to fight for it
by ack (Deacon) on Jan 29, 2009 at 17:32 UTC

    This thread is most interesting to me. The arguments of the pros and cons of commercial vs. opensource (sometimes in the context of commercial vs. freeware) always has the "when you pay for it, you get higher quality and/or more reliable support".

    But, for me, the argument that you get better support when you pay for it seems not sufficiently well backed up in my real-world experiences.

    For example, I actually dread ever having to call "customer service" or the "help desk" for any commercial product.

    I can't remember when, for any commercial product, I could successfully (1) get through to the help in a reasonable time and (2) actually get someone who could answer my question (no matter how simple the question or answer) without having to spend interminable time trying to get them to (a) understand my language (english) and (b) getting them to be interested in actually helping me find an answer.

    My experience is that the only real help comes from the generous help that folks like the Monks offer...and it's free.

    You gurus providing the help are always interested and often passionate about helping, the level of knowledge and expertise seems to almost always far exceed the pay-for-help "gurus", and so many seem to truly enjoy writing amplifying documentation, faqs, and tutorials that are incredible, helpful, and extensive.

    I just don't see the real-world confirmation that "you get better help (or products) when you pay for it." I can't see that Perl, Python, MySQL, Subversion and other such "freeware" products are in any way subsuperior to any of their commercial counterparts.

    That's just my experience and perspective.

    ack Albuquerque, NM
      I just don't see the real-world confirmation that "you get better help (or products) when you pay for it.
      I am very pleased with the help I have gotten from the free open source community as well. Which is why I try to give back as much as I can for absolutely free with no requirements for pay.

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