Rapidly Diverging From the Desired Discussion WAS: Writing for the Open Source Community

Subject: Rapidly Diverging From the Desired Discussion WAS: 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 15:51:37 -0500

"Bill Lawrence" wrote:

<<You're missing one of the main points, I think. You have two choices:>>

I have NOT missed the points described. I did not question the usefulness or the
value of the open source community or volunteering in general. I simply asked,
how to best profit from the movement. Is there a career possibility? Is it a
better way to build a network than more traditional routes? What are the
possibilities of it helping me land a job?

But I'll still address the choices presented.
<<Pay for a tool (and often pay dearly).>>
True. But often the cost of the tool is much less than the cost of developing an
in house solution and the tool is often more robust.

<<Support an effort to create the tool that's offered for free, and in the
process help shape what that tool does and how it works.>>
If you do any work what so-ever to help develop or promote the tool the tool is
no longer free for your company. Now the time you spend developing and
supporting the tool MAY be cheaper than a commercial alternative, but without
doing a total cost analysis you can't be sure. The cost of most commercial tools
can be justified by the work/time saved and increase in productivity. In fact if
they couldn't be justified, they wouldn't be available commercially in the first

<<One never knows in this business when one's company may falter, and suddenly
you're depending on freelancing for a living. I personally can't afford a tool
set consisting of RoboHelp, Camtasia, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, MS
Word, MS SourceSafe, and Framemaker, let alone trying to stay current with the

Absolutely. If you're unemployed and can't pay for tools and there's a free one
available then use it. Development and support time are on your dime and
therefor not really an added cost unless there is a more productive way you
could be spending your energy.

But this is not the discussion I was trying to begin. If you are going to write
for the open source community is there an advantage to you? If you are
unemployed and have no money, is time well spent picking up an open-source
project and hoping that someone will recognise you? Or, is there a way to
leverage open-source participation during a traditional job search?

Eric L. Dunn


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