👓 The perils of mixing open source and money | DHH

Read The perils of mixing open source and money by David Heinemeier HanssonDavid Heinemeier Hansson (dhh.dk)

Fundraising for open source has become trivial through venues like Kickstarter, so it's natural more projects are asking for money. "Imagine all the good I could do if I was able to work on this full time for the benefit of the community". Yes, let's imagine indeed.

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You’re solving the problems for you and your mates, likely in the simplest way you could, so you can get back to whatever you originally intended to do before starting to shave the yak.
But once there is money involved, work will expand to fill the amount raised (to paraphrase Parkinson’s law).

External, expected rewards diminish the intrinsic motivation of the fundraising open-source contributor. It risks transporting a community of peers into a transactional terminal. And that buyer-seller frame detracts from the magic that is peer-collaborators.

Take Ruby on Rails. More than 3,000 people have committed man-decades, maybe even man-centuries, of work for free. Buying all that effort at market rates would have been hundreds of millions of dollars. Who would have been able to afford funding that?

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