Re: Writing for the Open Source Community

Subject: Re: Writing for the Open Source Community
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 17:51:55 -0800


eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com wrote:

Bruce, I respect you opinions and enjoy your participation on the list. This may
just be the straw that broke the camel's back, I'm getting really sick and tired
of being told I've missed the point by people who have completely missed or
ignored what my original question was.

I'm sorry if I irritated you; I didn't intend to. I was trying to make clear that involvement with the Open Source movement is no more about uninterested generosity than it is about making money. If I seemed to miss or ignore your original question, it's because I was trying to convey - apparently unsuccessfully - that it's not a reason for getting involved.

The religious fervour and politics of the open source community are crazy.
Not particularly. The community marches to a different drummer than many people do, that's for sure. And some of the major figures in it are intense sorts that you wouldn't want hanging around your living room five nights a week. But, on the whole, its participants are really much different than any other group with a cause or common interest. Personally, I find it refreshing to drop in now and again to a group of people who are enthusiastic about what they do.

As for "politics," I'm not sure whether you are referring to political beliefs or internal squabbling. However, if you mean "political beliefs," then much of the Open Source community is certainly in a minority; some are libertarian, while others could be classed as anarcho-syndicalists. And if you mean that hte community is prone to squabbling, in my experience I'd have to say that it's no more inclined that way than any other loosely organized group (I'm referring, you understand, to those who actually contribute towards projects, not those who squabble on sites like Slashdot)

<<I gather that the altruistic reasons don't motivate you?>>

I think you all had better stop trying to judge me without knowing me.
It's not a judgement. It's a question based on what you wrote. You mentioned other motives for involvement, didn't mention altruism, then rejected the idea of involvement. From that, I assumed that altruism wasn't enough to make you want to be involved, but couldn't be sure - hence the question. I didn't suggest that you were mercenary, or that there was anything wrong with looking at the financial side, but it seemed a logical deduction that the economic side of open source was the only one you were interested in.

I said nothing whatsoever about your general character.

So how are they making the money and how does someone looking for a career
break-in?

I don't know too much about HP, but IBM is selling services based on open source technologies. There's some talk, for example, of replacing AIX with Linux over the next couple of years. I think that IBM is relieved to get out of the business of selling software, because it's always been terrible at it. By using Linux, IBM can concentrate on its traditional strengths. By contrast, Microsoft and Adobe are focused on selling software, so neither is likely to get too involved with Open Source technologies.

I don't think you have to look for a break-in. Increasingly, Open Source will find you. However, if you want to seek it out deliberately, then it's no different than looking for a job concerned with, say, java scripting or network security. Look for companies involved with your area of interest and apply.

And I consider it a slight to my professionalism that some seem fit to judge that I am looking to just coast
along on my current knowledge.

***Sigh.****

Eric, please stop looking for reasons to be offended. If I ever feel like deliberately insulting someone on the list, no one will be in any doubt about what I'm trying to do. However, I try not to do that - and not just because it's against list rules.

If you want to ask any specific questions, I'll be glad to answer them as best I can. But, before you jump to the conclusion that someone is gunning for you, would you please consider that maybe you're misinterpreting, or that a brisk tone means nothing more than a busy day?

--
Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177
http://members.axion.net/~bbyfield

"Take six politicians to dig me a grave,
Take six intellectuals my soul for to save,
And six union workers, a red flag to wave
And one stupid singer to rant and to rave."
- The Men They Couldn't Hang, "Industrial Town"



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