Open Source is Not a Career Path

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720094

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Open Source is Not a Career Path

  • Elliott Whitlow

    SSC Guru

    Points: 102296

    I have to agree. A lot of stuff I write, I give away, not all of it, and the choice of which is which is MINE. I sell commercial products and services and I like getting paid for my blood sweat and tears. But I also feel the need to give back to the community, which is why I participate here and on Codeplex..

    CEWII

  • Perry.Molendijk

    Valued Member

    Points: 67

    Just a small observation: open source software is not equal to free software.

  • Elliott Whitlow

    SSC Guru

    Points: 102296

    Perry.Molendijk (3/29/2010)


    Just a small observation: open source software is not equal to free software.

    While that may be true, much (most?) Open Source software can be used commercially at no cost.

    CEWII

  • jay-h

    SSCoach

    Points: 18816

    The 'not a career path' statement is probably not really true.

    Most of us (DBAs, programers, administrators, etc) DO NOT write the system code in MS SQL or other applications. That is a relatively small group of people who do that. What WE do is make a living maintaining, customizing, updating, toubleshooting products that others have written.

    Whether that product is 'open source' or 'closed source', free or paid is immaterial to our career path. That's not what we are paid for. So our general career path is the same whether we manage Mysql, SQL server, or Oracle.

    I am a full believer in (especially) open format, and really open source even if the developer wishes to make money selling license to his work (I have no problem with that at all). Companies come and go. Developers make changes that break things, sometimes we need to move our data to other uses.... and open format (at least) is critical for that. Imagine if auto companies (some have tried, unsuccessfully) succeeded in blocking all information about the workings of their products and how to repair them. Imagine if the sale of auto repair manuals were prohibited as 'intellectual property'.

    If someone wanted to steal software without license, it's easy to do. They certainly don't need source code for that. Similarly there is not compelling reason to close code to protect licensing stream. You can still have full legal ownership of your ideas as you chose.

    ...

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  • Someguy

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2207

    The middle is a pretty good place to be on this one. Ultimately, if you want quality, someone will want to be paid for it, and that's fair.

    "Free" software (I use the quotations because I'm not sure that anything is ultimately free in the end) has it's place. The presence of free software helps to keep the big guys on their toes. Linux is the little dog nipping at the heals of Microsoft. It's also nice that students and others all over the world can work honestly with the free stuff rather than pirating licenses. They may have to compromise on quality, but again, that's fair.

    The article makes it's point well - free is nice to have around at times, but it's never a career path. I'm going to end my comments there rather than get into a rant about capitalism vs. other forms of economics. There are plenty of good sites to go to if you want to get into that...

    😀

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  • Jason Selburg

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24637

    Did somebody say Free Beer?

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    Personal Motto: Why push the envelope when you can just open it?

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  • l543123

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 934

    I am sorry but isn't Java free? and isn't it a career path?

  • Jason Selburg

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24637

    l543123 (3/29/2010)


    I am sorry but isn't Java free? and isn't it a career path?

    Java may be free, and a Java Developer may be a career path, but I don't know of any Java Shops that give out all of their code for free...

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Personal Motto: Why push the envelope when you can just open it?

    If you follow the direction given HERE[/url] you'll likely increase the number and quality of responses you get to your question.

    Jason L. Selburg
  • Zixxer2Go

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 40

    Some people engage in technology from a set of ideals, some from a practical perspective. Choosing Microsoft server technology as a platform to base my growing skill set on was a practical decision; it was growing rapidly, had wide user and mid-level business acceptance, and would provide a nice livable income. It was also something I could eventually become a specialist in and provide subject matter expertise.

    I'm still of the practical mindset, and advise my friends and colleagues to get involved in something that will pay the bills. I think open source still trails the industry leaders in broad-based usage, but if that's your cup of tea, I'd say try to find some way to make it pay off for yourself. 🙂

  • l543123

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 934

    I agree to a certain extent that nothing is free in this world.. but not everything is about money.. how about wikipedia I think they survive on donations & user contributions to articles.

  • GSquared

    SSC Guru

    Points: 260824

    l543123 (3/29/2010)


    I agree to a certain extent that nothing is free in this world.. but not everything is about money.. how about wikipedia I think they survive on donations & user contributions to articles.

    And they exist in a state whereby their articles have a quantum mechanical uncertainty as to whether they are correct or not at any given time. Sort of a "Schrödinger's cat" of encyclopedias. If you link to a Wikipedia article, you never know if what someone gets when they click on that link, is going to be the same as what you got when you originally linked it.

    Thus, it may not cost you money to use a Wikipedia article, but it does have a cost associated with it.

    I once read that, "open source software is only free if your time has no value". While that's a little harsh, it does have more than a little truth to it. (I don't remember where I got that quote.)

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  • Cris E

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1255

    jay holovacs (3/29/2010)


    The 'not a career path' statement is probably not really true.

    Most of us (DBAs, programers, administrators, etc) DO NOT write the system code in MS SQL or other applications. That is a relatively small group of people who do that. What WE do is make a living maintaining, customizing, updating, toubleshooting products that others have written.

    Whether that product is 'open source' or 'closed source', free or paid is immaterial to our career path. That's not what we are paid for. So our general career path is the same whether we manage Mysql, SQL server, or Oracle.

    I think what you said is exactly what Torvalds was getting at: you're a DBA, not an open source something or other. For most people, your career is "system admin" or "developer" or whatever, and you work in that space and get promoted and learn things as that. The particular toolset narrows that decision a little bit more. On the other hand, deciding you want to work in Open Source is fine but you still need to choose a specific path. It would be akin to saying you want to work in health care or insurance. It's a starting point, but what is your career? What are you doing?

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  • SQLRNNR

    SSC Guru

    Points: 281243

    While there are a great many open source products out there that help with productivity, and can help us accomplish the task at hand - there aren't a whole lot of jobs in supporting or building those types of solutions.

    Jason...AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
    _______________________________________________
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    SQL RNNR
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  • Cris E

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1255

    Red Hat exists because of the gap between licensing and implementation costs. But really, most software, regardless of the initial cost, has that same gap and most IT professionals live in that space installing and configuring and using stuff others write. (I'm using MS stuff this year, for example.)

    I think the "free" part extends as far as the commodity nature of the software does. That is, browsers are free and mail server software is free and huge honking database and reporting suites may all be free of licensing costs, but the browser is a lot freer than the enterprise reporting software because you can install it and it runs (free!) whereas installing MySql and Jasper is a much more complicated piece of work. Enterprise database and reporting is never free because it's hard, and software is a tiny piece of the real cost.

    [font="Arial"]Are you lost daddy? I asked tenderly.
    Shut up he explained.
    [/font]
    - Ring Lardner

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