Open Source and the Economy

I was reading Savio Rodrigues’ post, The economy and open source, in which he responds to Andrew Keen’s thoughts that a bad economy will see fewer open source contributions.

Now, Keen feels that people will contribute less during bad financial times:

The hungry and cold unemployed masses aren’t going to continue giving away their intellectual labor on the Internet in the speculative hope that they might get some “back end” revenue. “Free” doesn’t fill anyone’s belly; it doesn’t warm anyone up.

I know several volunteer open source developers — I consider this to be a “role” that someone plays. A person may be *employed* as an open source developer (say, working at Sun on MySQL) but may also contribute to another open source project off-the-clock. I would consider that person to be a volunteer open source developer for the off-the-clock project.

At any rate…very few people volunteer as some kind of investment with a monetary return. (more…)

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