Re: Writing for the Open Source Community

Subject: Re: Writing for the Open Source Community
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 15:32:57 -0500

<<I think you're confusing generosity with altruism. One doesn't necessarily
imply the other. >>

1 : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others
2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself
but that benefits others of its species

b : liberal in giving

Not sure where you meant to go with this one. I think that many who volunteer
for any cause have a good dose of altruism. After all the time could often be
spent to better themselves or for personal gain. But as others have pointed out,
the open source community and any successful volunteer organisation does give
back to the volunteer in terms of belonging to a community, pride, promotion,
builds confidence, builds reputation, etc, etc.

I'm not denying or attacking any of that.

<<Personally, I think that most Open Source contributors do so not only because
they can afford it (via a day job, inheritance, or whatever), but also because
they want to do something that will actually make some sort of difference.>>

You're whole heartedly agreeing with me. It's that ALSO that's important.
Because without a day job, it's unlikely that you'll give up food and shelter to
give to an open source project. At a bare minimum, something has to pay for
feeding you the gruel and the electricity running the computer. :-)

<<And too, does it really hurt to have more people in your network? The Open
Source developer you write for also might be working at a company that's looking
for a writer....>>

A bigger network is always a plus. But if you're looking to get a job soon how
realistic is the above possibility.

<<Anyway, even if you don't respond to the emotional aspect of Open Source,
there are other ways to parlay it into paying work, assuming you're creative
enough to think of them.>>

Which brings us full circle back to my original question. If I'm looking to pay
the bills next month how can I exploit the possibilities of the open
source/freeware/shareware market? I'm challenging those that are involved to
drop the emotional involvement and realistically evaluate if there are positive
economic benefits to participating and whether the effort is greater than, equal
to, or less than the effort required by more traditional employment search

I'm not challenging the existence of the movement nor the altruistic/generosity
merits of the movement or those involved in it.

So far we've had one positive anecdote about open source experience with an
interviewer. But is it easier to get this recognition by open source work or by
another method?

Eric L. Dunn


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