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Developing OpenSource Software is fun (allways) and paid for (sometime)

Benno Stoll just published his master thesis at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. He researched the motivation of OpenSource developers. From the summary:
42% of the time spent for open source is financially compensated. However, we have to take into account that these figures may underestimate the amount of paid work. Paid open source developers are members of well-known open source projects. Such projects, however, can afford their own project infrastructure and are not dependent on platforms like SourceForge. Thus, the share of paid open source programmers may be rather underrepresented in the study's sample. (...)
In view of the importance of fun, the present study yielded the following results:
  • Fun matters: a simple model containing fun and spare time as independent variables can explain roughly 27% to 34% of the engagement for open source.
  • Spare Time matters: the amount of time spent by open source developers is significantly determined by the quantity of spare time the programmers have. However, the availability of spare time does not matter if the open source developers are asked for their willingness for future activities for open source.
  • The joy of programming does not wear off: each additional unit of fun is transferred linearly into additional commitment.

Go read the full report

Posted by on 14 July 2006 | Comments (1) | categories: Software


  1. posted by Ganapathiram Natarajan on Friday 14 July 2006 AD:

    One gets to work on a different kind of project (in open source since its all a matter of choice) than the regular office work, that adds to fun. Also, if lucky one gets a nice mentor too Emoticon biggrin.gif