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How can one make a living programming for free?
On the other hand there aren't a lot of people who can install and modify generic code to their particular needs.
PHP Nuke is a prime example of this situation. The core idea and functionality of a greatly interactive web site, the kind everybody talks about, is there in the code. I personally had to rearrange quite a few things to make it more search engine friendly and more design-standards compliant ;). But the core concept is free. Franciso recently got picked up by Mandrake for his efforts apparently.
I really dont understand where it all is headed but one thing seems certain....the M$ dynasty/monopoly is coming to the end of its expansion era. From here out they will be fighting to regain market share. I for one will stick with 98 if in fact the future OS has a requirement to "check in with M$" every time I change a piece of hardware. I like windows and the contribution to the ease of computing for the masses is undisputable. Linux has A LONG way to go to get to where your grandma could install and use it. But it is getting there.
I have tried and studied every web technology I could get my hands on. The ones I find to be the most useful are:
*nix, perl, PHP and MySQL. All of which are open source.
I make my living using open source tools -- perl, linux o/s, and apache. Lately I've been coding and most of everything else using GNU tools.
So in a way it has arrived. But, the next couple of years will be the interesting ones. Everyday there is another high-tech company having lay-offs. The programmers who are sitting idle are going to want to keep their wheels turning, and their portfolio building. With the for profit work slowing down I really think we are going to see the GNU movement mushroom.
However, I think there are a couple of other aspects involved as well as just keeping the wheels turning.
I think some programmers do open source because their project is something they really believe in and they want others to use it and make it more popular. To make it more popular, they let it go for free so people will use it.
My husband works on NetBSD for this reason: he believes it is a good operating system and wants others to use it so it becomes more popular. If more people decide to use NetBSD because it runs well, then he is happy.
On the other hand, I think there is a sort of pride aspect as well. If you can get a bunch of people using and liking the app you made, then you can say "I made that.."
That has to feel good.
Even if you just fix a bug, you can say "Ya know how that program had this particular bug? Well..I fixed it." That has to feel good too.
And if you keep your "wheels turning" in the process, well then all the better. Programmer types like to have their wheels turning..they are 'puzzle people'.
I'm in no way trying to be elitist here, but there's quite a debate going on about whether this is the direction Linux should be going in at all. Computers *are* incredibly complex, and I'd drop Linux like a shot if it tried to emulate windows to the extent of losing its current power and flexibility by hiding that complexity *too* deeply...
>see the GNU movement mushroom
The revolution is here, comrades ;)
What if M$ picks up Linux and starts to market it?
Whats to keep them from doing that?
I've read that the more like Windows Linux becomes the more unstable it will become due to the nature of adding more functionality and processes to the kernel.
I think SugarKane put it right...the revolution has begun....and it wont stop until everything on Earth is networked, tracked, monitored, counted and categorized. ;)
There's absolutely nothing to stop them doing that, it would be interesting if they did...
>I've read that the more like Windows Linux becomes the more unstable it will become due to the nature of adding more functionality and processes to the kernel.
Almost all of the windows-like stuff (indeed almost everything a user does) happens outside the kernel... eg if your desktop crashes you just kill your desktop and start again - any underlying server processes will continue uninterrupted. The extra functionality that enters the kernel is very tightly controlled :)
There's the "Free Software" movement led by Stallman. Stallman believes it's immoral to demand money in exchange for your work (and place restrictions on it in order to enforce that) if and only if you write software. In any other industry, it's fine.
There's the "Open Source" movement led by Eric S. Raymond. ESR believes that groups of companies working together and with their users can develop stronger business models than companies keeping things to themselves.
And then there are the "Software for free" people. Linus Tovalds (creator of Linux) seems to fall into this category, as do the high school kids that post to SlashDot. This is all about not having to spend money on stuff.
I've been thinking quite a bit about where Open Source succeeds and where it doesn't seem to make much difference. I've come up with these criteria for the success stories:
(1) They're all too big for one person to roll his own. Otherwise, who needs external contributors? That's why you get thousands of .mp3 players with the same features rather than one big one that dominates all the others.
(2) They're not terribly difficult software. If contributors needed mountains of knowledge in order to help, few people would be able to help. That's why GNU Go can't hold its own against many of the commercial Go-playing AIs.
(3) They're widely needed. If only a few people need the software, they won't be able to get a very big group to work on the project.
So Apache and Linux have done well, and I tend to believe Mozilla, ReactOS, PostgreSQL, and MySQL will eventually achieve critical mass and swamp commercial competitors.
Is this a smart thing for them to do???
It looks to me like they keep adding fuel to the fire of opposition.
<added> And the sabotaging the mp3 player thing too......so obvious where their mindset is.