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From "Danny Angus" <da...@apache.org>
Subject RE: The cash of our lives / Dvorak
Date Mon, 09 Jun 2003 12:04:21 GMT

> how does this mesh with groups like Apache, where we like to
> think that the longer term goal, and the code base surviving individual
> coders, are paramount.

I don't think contributing to Apache it is much at odds with this, you could say that our
personal goals include ensuring the longevity of our own contributions, and therefore creating
something with our names on it which will outlast us. Starting a sourceforge project that
dies with our involvement doesn't necessarily feed our vanity as well being associated in
a lesser role with a "blue chip" OS project if we are vain enough to want our work to outlast
us, or to see our small contributions widely known and used.

I don't think self-promotion is unusual in any walk of life, it would be far more unusual
if we were all being truly altruistic about it. 
Speaking for myself I like to belong to Apache, and to be known to belong.

I also have another theory as to why people and organisation contribute to OSS, one which
doesn't contradict any others but is a reason why people may contribute in small ways to large
projects, for little in the way of fame.
By contributing you start to influence project design and direction, this can result in financial
benefit as you start to tailor the products you use to better suit your precise uses and you
can still rely on the community to provide the support infrastructure. There is a risk, of
course, that the community will march off in another direction, but at that point you can
cut and run with a fork of your project having lost nothing.
Contributing for this reason does not reward contribution with fame, but with competitive
advantage. It is perhaps one reason why OS co-exists comfortably with commercial software.
There is a very real, probably quantifiable, commercial advantage to contributing to OS and
to moving commercial projects into the OS domain if you are careful about where you expend
your efforts.

For example, and I don't mean this in a derogatory way, it stands to reason that Jakarta's
ownership of Tomcat must save Sun money compared with it being a proprietery product of Sun
for which their business model dictates that there should be no fee. A clear commercial advantage.
It would also benefit Tomcat users to be active in Tomcat development, and to propose, debate
and code changes which would benefit themselves and their customers, much more so than having
to maintain a fork of Tomcat would.

> Dw (who likes to be a small camwheel spinning together with lots of other
> cam wheels and cogs :-).

But not an anonymous one?

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