Think of open source and most of us have visions of developers doing selfless work in their free time and contributing only because of their passion for the technology and a burning desire to learn.
Although that might be true for small and relatively insignificant open source projects, it certainly does not seem to be the case with the big and popular open source projects. For example, in a recent interview, Mike Milinkovich the executive director of the Eclipse Foundation said that “Over 90% of the committers on Eclipse projects are full-time paid employees of member companies…”
“If you look through a lot of the open source projects out there, a lot
of the committers in general are full-time employees. So, the typical
profile of an Eclipse committer is a software developer that works for
a software products company.”
Even with JBoss and MySQL, to the best of my knowledge, most of the work is done by full time paid employees.
So can we conclude that most popular open source software is developed primarily by paid employees?
What makes the picture hazy, is the nature in which open source is promoted / marketed. You have a gathering of students or any non-decision makers and the open source guy will wax eloquent on how the community works and how 1000s of unknown individuals are selflessly working to make it a better world.”
Change the audience to a management / decision maker type and suddenly the pitch changes. “Open-Source is developed by highly qualified and full-time paid employees and so there is no compromise on quality”
So what is the real nature of open-source?
Do open source projects need to prominently display stats about the nature of the contributions, the percent contributed by employees of a certian company and such other figures that will give the user a truer picture of the project?
>> Open-Source keeps me coding fit