Skip to content


Clemens Vasters’ ‘Letter to Aiden’

Open Source: Clemens Vasters: Where do you want to go, Aiden? Sadly, Clemens misses the
point dramatically.

Point one: I’ve worked on open-source and proprietary software. I still do. I work on them both simultaneously (or, at least, proprietary 9-5 and open-source outside work hours ;). I have a good few of the things you’re supposed to have ‘by the time you’re 30’.

It’s not an all-or-nothing thing; working on open source doesn’t mean retreating into a garrett and staying up all night. Nothing is black-and-white like that, and surely Clemens should be able to recognise that aspect of the real world by now. ;)

Point two: Open source work does found a career. It acts as a fantastic testament to your ability — especially if you’ve written good code or organised a team. I’d be much more happy to hire someone who had demonstrated that ability, over people who had no OS dev experience, if I was interviewing candidates in the day job. (In fact, I have in the past. ;)

For one thing, a tar.gz from Sourceforge is a lot easier to verify than some assertion that when you worked for some big company, you were Very Important and did Amazing Things, but sorry, they were all secret and proprietary so you have no proof.

Point three: ‘It doesn’t matter whether you love what you are doing and consider this the hobby you want to spend 110% of your time on: It’s exploitation by companies who are not at all interested in creating stuff. They want to use your stuff for free. That’s why they trick you into doing it.’

This is total FUD — pretty much just shouting ‘it’s an IBM conspiracy!’

For the record, I’ve never even talked to anyone from IBM about open source, as far as I know — aside from when I stood up once at a conference and attempt to ask an IBM manager about their crappy software patent policy and how it conflicted with their avowed support of open-source. (Obviously their payoff cheque was late that month ;)

More good comments on slashdot, believe it or not (with the threshold at 3, that is).

(finally, an aside: I suspect the guy’s name was ‘Aidan’ BTW.)

Comments closed