re: Job title: Full-time Open Sourcerer VIEW POST


I prefer to be a full-time paid developer, having my open source work as a free hobby. Open source won't pay most people's bills.


It's very hard to figure out how you're going to pay your bills as a full-time open sourcerer. I won't lie about that. It's that, it's tough.


Open source won't pay most people's bills.

True, and even if they get close to people your bills the job will not be forever. I have seen many shops that hired people to do open source and after 2 years of "showing-off" that they contribute to open source, they let them go.

having my open source work as a free hobby.

I used to do a lot open source as hobby but my free time is very limited. I think companies should encourage people to do open source, within the companies time.


Open source won't pay most people's bills.

Yes, this is true in a lot of open source situations, but for us, the code is open, the company has a business model that doesn't conflict with that. So we're doing the same approx work either way but anyone full-time with this is contributing everything they're doing to the fresh air of OSS.

Trying to make hobby open source work into full-time work and creating complicated incentive structure would be ill-advised as you're describing, but there are different ways this winds up going down.


It's certainly interesting to watch things like Tidelift evolve as potential ways of compensating devs for open source projects.


Being a full-time paid developer is great, and working on open-source project as a hobby is also great if you want to do so. But we should reject the idea of open source software as something that is done as a hobby. It is certainly challenging to bring together open source and a salary (at least in our current system), but developers cannot be to bring the same quality level and productivity to unpaid hours of work out of their (frequently little) free time.

Of course, many projects will only make sense as a hobby, but similarly some projects only make sense with some financial backing. And in fact the greatest open source contributors are private companies (Microsoft and Google on top), where many developers work as "full-time open sourcerers" (e.g. writing drivers for the Linux kernel, etc.). Writing good, useful software, open-source or not, is hard and laborious, and we should expect to be rewarded for it if we are to do a decent job.

(I do not mean it as a criticism to your comment, which I understand, but just as an alternative viewpoint)

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