[plug] Sobering read on the reality of open source software development

Onno Benschop onno at itmaze.com.au
Mon Mar 21 11:44:34 AWST 2022

Hi Chris,

First of all, didn't know such a thing existed, great!

As for the broader issue, the current Open Source model is broken. I've
just spent two days publishing some scripts I wrote which are no doubt
going to save people time and effort. I am self-employed and that time came
out of my own pocket, there's no magic employer or benefactor paying me for

This is true for much of the code that is published. It's true for much of
the content on the Internet, podcasts, websites, graphics, music, all of it
is being produced by people who mostly don't get paid for any of it.

You can argue that you should sort out money before you start publishing,
and in an ideal world that would be the case, except that nobody would
publish and you would end up with no content, other than that sanctioned by
the main media outlets.

The centralisation of software and media are both following the same path.
As a software developer and podcaster, I'm contributing more than most to
the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Github, AWS and others. None of
this generates income.

For a while I asked for donations. I think in 10 years I made $300. That's
not enough to pay for coffee, let alone food, rent, electricity, let alone
internet connectivity, computers and the like.

All of my efforts are for "public benefit", but the people making that
benefit are those who need it least.

So, despite the fact that there is such a thing as "The Linux Foundation",
that doesn't structurally actually deal with the underlying issue.

I note that I've stopped participating in Hackathons, despite winning each
one I entered, since this too is an example of freeloading, where a project
benefits from hundreds, if not thousands of man-hours, at no charge, when
the organisations who put these events together, Government Departments,
Mining and Accounting, large IT companies, all have plenty of money to
actually pay each participant for their work, but don't.

So, how is this fixed?

Should we all go on strike? Should we call out the behaviour? Should we
charge for every download?

I think that having a discussion here is a very good start.

As a side-observation. I'm typing this on a Linux Desktop which I'm running
at no charge. Should I pay for that, or is my history of lodging bug
reports, updating documentation, publishing scripts and podcasts enough

Look forward to your thoughts.

On Mon, 21 Mar 2022 at 11:08, Chris Hoy Poy <chris at hoypoy.id.au> wrote:

> I find it interesting there is no mention of my employer, The Linux
> Foundation.
> We steward and support many open source projects & foundations, including
> CNCF (home of kubernetes), OpenJS and of course the Linux kernel itself.
> https://linuxfoundation.org/projects/
> At least some of this issue is around establishing and connecting sponsors
> to projects, which is a lot of our community work too.
> We have our own open source research team as well, and release annual
> reports on open source jobs etc - 2021 report is here:
> https://www.linuxfoundation.org/tools/the-2021-open-source-jobs-report/
> Cheers
> /Chris
> On Mon, 21 Mar 2022, 8:25 am Onno Benschop, <onno at itmaze.com.au> wrote:
>> https://www.businessinsider.com/open-source-developers-burnout-low-pay-internet-2022-3
>> --
>> finger painting on glass is an inexact art - apologies for any errors in
>> this scra^Hibble
>> ()/)/)() ..ASCII for Onno..
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Onno Benschop

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