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LinuxPlanet: Funding the Open Source Developer

Apr 06, 2000, 18:15 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

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"There's always been an conflict between the practical and the idealistic in the Open Source ethos, a conflict outlined by Eric Raymond in his description of the Cathedral and the Bazaar: how to contribute to the Open Source movement while also making a living. (Check it out here: it's a classic text and one that anyone serious about Open Source should read.) The conflict has been further exacerbated by those arguing for Free Software as opposed to Open Source software."

"Those providing Linux distributions (Red Hat, MandrakeSoft, Corel) have established their own business model: create a distribution, give away a basic version, and then charge for a more fleshed-out distribution that includes documentation. The same model is followed by larger Linux-software vendors (Corel again, IBM, the folks behind Blender), who attempt to charge when adding value to a basic, freely available package."

"But what about the smaller Open Source developer, for whom this model just won't work? There are a few projects underway that try to match developers with those needing software development: collab.net, for instance, has done a fine job of matching developers with customers in a bid-driven environment. In addition, VA Linux Systems' SourceForge is a good gathering place for developers, although SourceForge does nothing to actually market the work of these developers and doesn't provide anything past basic resources."

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