The results of a very interesting study [PDF link] are a good insight into why people contribute to Open Source software projects and in some ways, it can be extended to other Open Source movements, Wikipedia et. al.

If you’re a FOSS contributor, you’re about 30 y.o. almost exclusively male (sic) from North America or Western Europe, with 12 years of programming experience and spending about 10h/week on 2 or 3 FLOSS projects. You feel strongly that the hacker community is the primary source of your identity.

You’re either self-taught (40%) of have been formally IT trained (51%).
There are good chances (40%) that you’re paid while contributing.Your primary motivation lies in your ability to express your creativity; You belong to one of the following 4 clusters (names are MTG’s not that of the study), identified along your secondary motivations:

[ 25% ] The Professional: (86% are paid) You need FLOSS for work-related issues
[ 27% ] The Hobbyist: You need FLOSS for non-work related issues
[ 29% ] The Intellectual: You like to improve your skills and need/like intellectual stimulations
[ 19% ] The Altruist: You like to give to the community and believe code should be free/open

Contrary to the mainstream sociological belief, extrinsic rewards (money) does not decrease your intrinsic motivation (here your feeling of creativity).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DISCLAIMER :Everything here is the personal opinions of the authors and is not read or approved by pratham books before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here