Daniel Lemire's blog

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How to be effective at open source: by programmers, for programmers

9 thoughts on “How to be effective at open source: by programmers, for programmers”

  1. gwern says:

    That’s an interesting comparison I haven’t seen before.

    But the original Invisible College in Europe was motivated by the Scientific Revolution and a quasi-Enlightenment spirit as part of a shared endeavor towards understanding the universe and improving human affairs.
    What motivates programmers beyond quotidian problem-solving?

  2. @gwern

    I suspect you will find many of the same motivations with open source programmers. It is a shared endeavour towards making the world smarter, better. It is also a way to achieve a higher status for yourself.

  3. Vivek Haldar says:

    IMHO the real innovation in open source (the modern variant, with Linux, gcc etc) was to get the private sector to fund it and make it viable. The vast majority of fulltime Linux kernel hackers are employed by large companies like IBM, Intel, Google and Redhat. I doubt major projects like the Linux kernel would see the momentum they have without private corporate involvement.

    That’s the conundrum. These private companies are funding the development of a common good. They make the calculation that they come out ahead anyway.

    If you look way back, I think this can all be traced back to IBM in the 1990s. Big Blue was shit-scared that Redmond would eat everything under sun. It was fighting for survival. Anything that was anti-Microsoft was pro-IBM. In that world, things like Linux and Java were godsends for IBM. And indeed, IBM put its entire weight behind Java and Linux, and was crucial to the development and adoption of both in the mainstream.

  4. @Vivek Haldar

    I agree that the private sector is key in keeping open source thriving.

  5. Peter says:

    I would like to point out a minor thing: what you are refering to is more ‘free’ software than ‘open source’. E.g. microsoft lets you look into parts of their code but you must not use it …

    The FSF makes the differences more clear: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html

    I also like your phrase ‘open source code communists’ … in the US communists are often seen as opponents (not without a reason of course;)). But one could also point out the ‘community’ part of ‘communism’ which is very important to a successful open source project.

  6. @Peter

    I specifically mean “open source” which includes free software as a subset.

    I would say that if you get a Microsoft programmer in a bar and he gives you the source code for his latest algorithm on a USB key… that counts…

  7. Mehmet Suzen says:

    Interesting term indeed “invisable college”: Do you think open/free software is an inherent by-product of practice of programming/development culture and community?

    Concerning “open source communists”; it is absurd; while U.S. government released so many scientific/infrastructure related source codes developed by federal funds. I don’t think free software is anything to do with political ideals rather as Peter pointed out is about being a community; whether community of individuals or community of big cooperations.

  8. @Mehmet Suzen

    Yes, this is what I am saying: open source is a by-product of the community of professional programmers.

  9. Ali says:

    Open source code will always be put at a disadvantage by the big for profit corporations. Programmers need to band together in a tighter community against this trend