Saturday 5 May 2001: Rant for the week

I’ve been digging holes, so I have been thinking, which is what I do while digging holes. My thoughts were based on the following factiods:

  • I bothered to do that maths the other day, and nearly 30,000 people have downloaded a version or other of Panda / PandaLex / PandaScript. This number might include repeat downloads, and doesn’t take into account caching, so take it with a grain of salt.
  • A friend commented that if 10% of the people gave me $10 for my efforts, then that’s a lot of money
  • I released the second version of the comp.text.pdf faq I have been working on recently
  • I am paid to work as a software engineer for a government department, where I write code most of my time, and this code is only used internally

    Anyway, here is what I came up with based on these facts…

    I write open source because I can. I write code all day in my job, which might be generally useful to other people, but that will never see the light of day. It is also not unheard of for people at work to have code developed that is never really used.

    Open source is a way of fixing how I feel about that. I can write generally useful code, and have it used by real people. It also leads to better code, because I know people are going to look at it, and draw conclusions about my level of clue based on that code.

    On the money side, I guess my rationale is that all the people I know of who work for Open Source companies earning a lot of money had to do that hard yards first a generate a name for themselves. I guess that is the stage that I am in at the moment. At some point I will get noticed, and get hired, and get paid a lot of money.

    The other reality is that I am learning things doing my open source coding that I wouldn’t learn otherwise. For instance autoconf, automake, libtool, and stuff like that. These all also make me more employable.

    Perhaps I should call for donations for the whole Panda thing. If you want to send me money email me!