What's Your Open Source Motivation?

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 26, 2008

The open source community is composed of diverse individuals with a variety of motivations. Anyone who's been around for a while has heard the phrase "herding cats" applied, and it generally fits. Some more evidence of this comes from a survey run by OpenLogic. They talked to members of their own Expert Community - folks with good experience who have signed up to help resolve enterprise support incidents - and asked, among other things, who they worked for.

What they found was that 50% of their respondents worked for a proprietary software company, 26% were doing open source consulting, and 18% were working for a non-software company. They also asked about motivations for getting involved with OpenLogic. Despite the fact that these experts are paid, only 52% were in it for the money; 64% said they just wanted to support open source software (obviously, respondents could pick more than one answer). And even though these people were committers on big projects, only 48% said they'd want to work for the company associated with the software that they were supporting.

Even though this survey isn't statistically significant (50 people from a self-selected group that probably doesn't reflect open source developers as a whole), the results seem to mesh well with other discussions I've seen. Some of us contribute to open source just to scratch our own little itches on particular projects; some want to make money; some want to change the world. It's a wonder that we can all live in one big tent.

What about you? What keeps you coming back to pitch in on open source development? Or do you just leave it for other folks to do, for one reason or another?