Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on April 26, 2003 09:40 PM
... it's something like playing chess.
You don't play because the pieces are well made, nor because it gives status (although this may happen) and still not because of the rewards upon victory (though this might be the case for some).
I guess the main reasons are love for the dispute (a taste for war, if you will) and, above all, love for the practice of your high skills while doing it (intelligence, wisdom, quickness, ability to deceive the opponent etc.).
Programming (not just OSS), one does get a kick from the process and from a sudden realization about some code accomplished.
This happens more intensely though in Unix -- because it's highly modular and what one does impacts much more than, say, in Windows.
And this is also a much more strong sensation in OSS than in commercial code, because:
a) change (sometimes) occurs at faster pace than in "managed" software environments (it's about one of the Parkinson's laws...);
b) there is a wrong common perception that "professional" means "excellent" -- and it comes as a pleasant surprise that OSS can be better. In fact, the moniker "zealot" may have to do with the almost fanatic obsession for quality -- something that is forbidden in "professional" corporations, where cost/benefit is paramount.
Well, all this is just a theory, of course -- but it is MHO.