One thing I'm very fond of is Open Source software. Or better Free
Software (please see the difference
I think it's really important for the quality of software to release the
source code and to give others the opportunity to take that code and
either learn from your code so that their software will be better or
they actively make your code better by modifying it.
Many people wonder what makes people writing free software? They could
earn money with doing the same! First, free software doesn't mean that
you can't earn money with your software. Well, not in the traditional
ways (despite it is possible, Richard Stallman sells the gnu-utilities for
just $60 ;-). Have a look at Frank Hecker's
paper for a deeper insight to that.
For me (and i think the most others too) the main reason for writing free
software is learning more about programming, gain experience in new
technologies and working in a team on a specific software. That are
invaluable experiences that make you a better coder!
Another reason is of course a little ego satisfaction ;-). Yes, it's always
great to see that others use your software and you get some feedback.
Free Software development is a bit different from conventional software
development (see eric raymond's paper
and the bazaar"
). It's only written at all and written in that particular
way because the author want's it, not because it is a company's interest.
Many people resigned from the Mozilla project because it left little
room for the individual author's ideas. Static timelines in a big
company aren't much fun (see Jamie Zawinski's
for his view about the Mozilla project).
In my opinion the Free Software model works and it is even possible
that it someday takes the place of conventional software development.
May the source be with you...
Written sometime around the year 1999/2000.