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LinuxWorld: Life After Open Source?

Stig Hackvän writes:

LinuxWorld just posted my
interview
of Gimp authors Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis.

The most vocal open source proponents contend that open-source
software can flourish on the strength of globally-distributed
volunteerism alone; but Gimp and Gtk weren’t the product of either
Internet-based collaboration or bazaar-style software
development.

Inspired by the disucussion of turnover in Tom Demarco and
Timothy Lister’s excellent book on workplace satisfaction and
productivity issues, Peopleware (1987), I looked for signs of an
inability to retain talented hackers in the open-source community.
It wasn’t very hard to find evidence of a problem.

Progress on the Gimp screeched to a halt when Spencer Kimball
and Peter Mattis left college to take paying jobs. Gimp develoment
resumed only slowly as new volunteers picked up where the UC
Berkeley developers had left off. After 20 months, Gimp is more
stable, but it still crashes and its Intelligent Scissors tool
still doesn’t work quite right.

Linux and many other open-source projects are thriving now, but
could they be doing better?

The answer to this question may lie in the economics of open
source: can the rewards (both tangible and intangible) of
open-source hacking approach those available elsewhere in the
computer industry? If so, then the open-source community won’t have
to bid farewell to some of its most talented contributors. By now,
Spencer and Peter would probably want to be working on something
besides Gimp anyhow, but they could still be working for us.

I am beginning to explore the economics of cooperative software
development on my dev/Linux site.

    [1] LinuxWorld catches up with the
GIMP’s creators

    http://www.linuxworld.com/linuxworld/lw-1999-01/lw-01-gimp.html

    [2] Peopleware, by Tom Demarco and
Timothy Lister, 1987

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932633056/stigsbookpicks/

    [3] dev/Linux: the First Hackers’
Distributed Republic (under construction)

    http://devlinux.org/


Stig … http://hackvan.com … 707-987-3236 [email protected]
Hackvän … Friend of Hacking … 415-264-8754 mobile