Friday, May 22, 2009

More on open source software

I recently wrote about the new take on Open source software proposed by Michael Schwarz and Yuri Takhteyev. Now, while reading David Pennock's reflections on the recent NBER Market Design Working Group Meeting, I followed his link to Paul Graham , on science, art, and engineering, who (in passing) has this to say:

"It seems surprising to me that any employer would be reluctant to let hackers work on open-source projects. At Viaweb, we would have been reluctant to hire anyone who didn't. When we interviewed programmers, the main thing we cared about was what kind of software they wrote in their spare time. You can't do anything really well unless you love it, and if you love to hack you'll inevitably be working on projects of your own."

Graham thus views open source as akin to the scholarly publishing that professors do, which is also uncompensated open source work. Like programmers, we also get rewarded for it in our day jobs.

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