Dec 27 2006
Everyone living on their own realizes how important it is to make money. There are all sorts of expenses to deal with, i.e. rent, power, food, clothes, pizza for late night working, etc. Making money helps finance these things.
Writing software for money makes sense. People write shareware or retail software with the hopes of creating an application that will make them rich.
So why do people write open source software? They don’t make any money writing free programs and giving away its source code. What could possibly motivate someone to spend long hours at night cranking out code after working an 8 hour shift in their day job?
Below is a list of reasons why a programmer might write open source software.
- They need more excitement in their life. Open source programmers get to meet some very interesting people while being involved in the open source community.
- They are trying to get real world experience in writing software. New programmers usually lack the experience and knowledge to get the best jobs. Writing open source shows their potential employers what they can do.
- They want to be involved with the latest technologies. If anything, open source software is on the cutting edge of technology and rivals its commercial counterparts. One only needs to look at how Apache dominates the web server market to see this.
- Writing software and then providing technical support for end users is challenging. Everyone thinks they are the most important customer and wants their problems solved immediately. With open source, you don’t have to support the software you write, someone else will. There are communities and forums, and people who want money before giving answers that will deal with support issues.
- Finally, there are open source programmers who can hear the “ka ching” sound in the distance. Way back in 1995, many programmers left the NCSA web server project to work for Netscape and became quite rich later on. Getting involved in an open source project could lead to a very profitable job in the future.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of reasons why people write open source software, I think it summarizes most of them. There is great deal of high quality open source applications available. We need to thank all of those programmers out there who take the time to build those applications for us.