I can’t leave some things alone
I agree with Darcy, there is no Software Crisis, unless you are a person or company that never offered any real creative input to the design process of interesting software. When it comes down to it Visual Studio is partially there to help enable the people bring their visions to life without having to rely on someone who gets paid a lot to memorize syntax and unnecessarily complicated algorithms.
Chris questioned his blogging motives. I thought about mine and here is what came to mind:
- It’s great personal information database. Now I can remember important parameter tests and never to drink goosehorn wine.
- Working at Microsoft does mean I can provide people with additional value by sharing with them deeper information about the product I work on than they would have had otherwise such as how to customize it. I know I’m helping people just from the useful google searches that lead people to me.
- If no customer ever benefited from blogs.msdn.com it has still become an awesome way for Microsoft people to share best practices with other Microsoft people they would otherwise never get to learn from. There has not yet been any internal web site that enabled this amount of best practice sharing. It should be a “best practice”.
Gunner paid out on a per bug basis to his testers. If I did this for my team I’d be broke. The volume is probably a bit different, but they find a TON of great bugs. <inside joke>Of course I’d probably just win it back from them at poker. </inside joke>
Alex is only half right. True, most people do not write code for free. However I’d contend that most OSS projects are not selfless acts done for the betterment of all mankind.
- Some people work on OSS projects for experience because they want to improve their skills thereby making themselves more valuable.
- Some work on OSS projects because they haven’t found an outlet for this latent creativity in their real jobs and it has to come out somewhere.
- Some OSS projects are created because there is not a viable alternative that has been created at an affordable cost.
- Some successful OSS projects actually have commercial intent. At Linux world I saw a LOT of companies with a business model build around an OSS core that they or their employees contribute heavily to (and maintain very tight control over), but they provide additional (for sale) value of easy setup, more help, and consulting.
- And if you do work on an OSS project purely for the “love” are you not deriving some value from your contributions?
The reason there are not as many .NET OSS projects has less to do with the mindset of .NET developers and more to do with the fact that .NET is a relatively new thing.