I’ve been asked to summarize an article by Alexander Hars & Shaosong Ou about motivations of participating in open source projects written in 2000 for a psychology course. It was very interested to see how many things can motivate one to invest in open source.
Although none of the motivators was new to me, I still found the article very interesting. In fact, during the presentation of the article to the class I added my point of view and the reasons I participate in open source. I realized that, although not intentionally, I enjoyed every motivator mentioned in the article, except “selling related products and services”.
It would be quite interesting to have this article done again, as the open source world became bigger and has more payed people working on free software. Any volunteers ?
While working with kSar to visulize sar’s statistics, a friend found a bug with kSar.
Most IT people don’t think they can have access to the developers, I reminded my friend that we’re dealing with an open source application and we should report a bug or at least check the bug with the develpers.
He wrote a message in the kSar forums, and the answer, in the form of a new minor version came 4 hours later. We testing the fix and were very happy.
I can just hope all my bugs will be solved so quickly (:
So, please don’t be shy about your problems with free software. Most developers will be happy to get a good bug report and help you. I believe that’s specially true about developers of small applications who are just happy to hear people are using their software.
10 days have passed since the start of the triage, and more than 40% of the bugs were handled. 71 bugs were confirmed to be already fixed in recent versions of openoffice.org and about 50 were confirmed to still exist.
During FOSDEM, I talked with Rene about the triage and it seems he intends version 2.4.0 for Lenny. So I decided not to ping users again until 2.4.0 (a non RC version) will enter Lenny, as don’t want to ping our Lenny users twice.
Dan Jacobson opened a thread about the new style of “mass triage” on -devel. Most of the points were already answered on my triage announcement post. But the thread on -devel have resulted in a few interesting points:
- Some of our largest (as openoffice.org) and important (as aptitude) packages are under maintained – referring to the amount of people working on the packages relatively to the amount of work which needs to done.
- While we have under maintained packages, people are still eager to add new packages instead of helping existing packages. Notice the amount of ITPs we have in the WNPP page.
On the users “frontend”, I found a lot of thankful people who gave possitive feedback on the process. Others were just responsive enough to get things forward and in some cases I could help with checking the bugs themselves instead of “just” pinging people about them.
Some users even took the opportunity, and upgraded to Lenny to test the bugs, and I still have a few bugs waiting for similar upgrades to be completed. It’s very nice to see users willing to invest time and effort to help DDs.
In 24 hours 21% of the triage is already done due to an amazing responsiveness from Debian’s openoffice.org users.
From the total of 285 bugs targeted by the triage, 35 were closed and 27 were reproduced. Another 20 bugs are in my processing queue.
With today’s result the total bug count for openoffice.org in Debian crossed the 300 outstanding bugs mark. I hope to lower it to the area of 200 by the end of this triage.
I must say most users were very happy to see their bugs’ get some attention, and some were really happy to see their bug was already fixed. I got a few mails with very warm words about the triage, openoffice.org in debian and the project in general.
Getting this feedback from users is one of the things that motivates me to keep and contribute to Debian in general, and to do bug triages in particular.
One issue I noticed is that some of our users don’t know how to close bug reports. While it’s more important they’ll know how to report bugs than how to close them, it’s a good idea to refer them to “Closing bug reports” on Developers’ information regarding the bug processing system.
Recently, I found it hard to contribute to open source in general and Debian in particular. There are several reasons for that: beginning with less free time to contribute and continuing with feeling my contribution becomes more and more routine and thus less interesting / challenging.
Yesterday I found the time and motivation to upload fixes to 6 of my packages. I thought it might be interesting to share the reasons for this motivation burst, as it can demonstrate how each of us can affect others.
The final trigger was seeing (= getting svn diffs) Baruch Even working on the libhdate package (which is co-maintained as part of debian-hebrew). Prior to that I had people showing interest in my packages, helping with solving bugs, sending patches and even one guy becoming a co-maintainer of a package of mine. Oddly, most of them are ubuntu users.
I’m not looking for others to do my work or do it for me, but getting help is always fun and motivating. Also, working with other people creates commitment as they wait for something you should do, or waiting for you to use what they’ve done. For me this starts a positive snow ball which ends with better packages for me and happier people after receiving credit for their work (usually a changelog entry and a thank you mail).
So go on, and inspire people (: