Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is there a problem with providing monetary incentives to open source projects?

A lot has been discussed recently about Sun unveiling a program that will provide monetary incentives to successful contributions to some of their open source projects. The program was discussed in limited scope on Simon Phipps's blog .

I have read people's comments that straddle both sides of the fence. On one hand, you have Michael Cote', an analyst with Redmonk, in favor of this decision. He states in an article in ComputerWorld, "In the open-source community, you get sort of soft rewards, like respect and a reputation in the overall IT community, and the adoration of your fans. That's great, but it's also great to get cash."

On the other side, you have Matthew Aslett from the 451 Group questioning Sun's move in his blog . He goes on to state that, "Could the same not be said of offering cash prizes for innovative open source development? If the idea is truly innovative, would it not find its way to to the development tree without the promise of financial reward? Previous surveys have indicated that personal gratification and improved skills are greater motivations for open source developers than direct financial returns."

So, at the end of the day, this is all very interesting. I believe whichever side you are on, you can make a valid point. However, I do not see what is wrong with both. I personally agree with both sides. Essentially, in this case, "you can have your cake and eat it to".

There is no question that open source developers take great pride in the code that they develop. And, I believe many like the name recognition. After all, everyone needs a little ego boost from time to time. At the same time, I rarely run into an individual that will shy away from accepting additional compensation for their code. Sure, most of the leading open source developers are employed and making a fairly decent living. But, I have yet to hear one cry out, "Enough is enough. I do not want anymore money."

The way that I see it is this is a win-win for everyone involved. I do not think it is going to change the open source landscape. Whether or not there is monetary motivations, developers are always going to develop whatever interests them. So, that will remain the same. The benefit to those developers is that they will get a few extra greenbacks on the side from a company with large coffers. If I am a developer (which I am not), I say bring it on. Whoever is willing to giveth, I would be happy to be on the receiving end.

Monday, November 19, 2007

49 Noteworthy Open Source Projects

I get asked a lot from aspiring open source developers on which projects they should take part in. Of course, that should always be determined by the individual themselves. Like I have mentioned in the past, you must have a passion for the project you are contributing to to benefit that community.

In any regard, listed here are 49 projects that Datamation feels should be in the spotlight. Are all of these noteworthy? I am not sure. I have not had a chance to research every project. However, this can at least be a guide for some aspiring open source developers out there.

If you ever have any questions regarding projects or what you can do to better position yourself in the open source marketplace, we are always happy to answer as many questions as we can on our IRC channel: #hotlinuxjobs. We look forward to hearing from you!

HotLinuxJobs is indeed #1 on Google for Linux kernel jobs

It was brought to our attention that we were not number one on Google when you search for Linux kernel jobs. Some minor tweaking from our staff and viola. See for yourself here .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Interview on SearchEnterpriseLinux

Here is an interview I did with SearchEnterpriseLinux. You can read the full interview here .

Thanks goes out to Mark Gallagher at SearchEnterpriseLinux for contacting us to get our thoughts on the Linux job market. We are always happy to supply information we have gathered over the years about the job market in the open source space.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Linux Job Board on Kerneltrap...but, be careful!

Perhaps some of you have seen, but there is a new Linux kernel job board on Kerneltrap . We have been big fans of Jeremy's throughout the years, and we enjoy the site. We have even advertised on it in the past, which would make sense since we have a number of Linux kernel searches that are ongoing.

My only concern is about this new job board partnership that he has with Specialty Job Markets. From some of the comments that I was reading and the responses they received, I am concerned that Specialty Job Markets will not always inform candidates where they are being sent. Christopher Lozinski, founder of Specialty Job Markets, even admits that he does not have agreements with all the companies he splatters candidates resumes to. Being in the recruiting business for 10 years, that is concerning to me. Hopefully, he is in full communication with these candidates. But, by the number of job boards he runs with what appears to be a small staff, I am not sure this is possible. He mentions in one posting that he is helping get rid of spam, but ironically he is also creating spam if he sends resumes to companies he does not have agreements with. Anyhow, just a word of caution, make sure you know where your resume is being sent. You are entitled to that, and it is only ethical.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Imperative for candidates to be open and honest

Lately, it appears that some candidates are willing to go to great lengths to mislead both ourselves and the corporations which we work with. With the market being as hot as it is, it tends to come with the territory. However, that is not an excuse for the type of behavior some candidates are displaying.

Case in point, we were trying to conclude a search last week. It was a situation where we had an offer for an individual, and we were aware that he received another offer. Throughout this process, we met everyone of his goals that he listed...consumer electronics company, good working environment, etc. The other company did not "appear" to offer these criteria according to the candidate at the time. It got to a point where the offer from the other company was a little higher than the company that we were representing. Therefore, the company decided to bring up the base salary to a level that was very comparable to the other offer he had. Smartly, before this company decided to present the updated offer to him, they offered him a day to think about it to make sure that he would accept this new offer. They did not want to go through the paperwork if he was not going to do so. And, they asked that he contact them. Once again, they wanted to see firsthand his interest in the position. Sure enough, the next day, the candidate called up this company to say he would accept if the revised offer was signed off on.

Moving a couple of days ahead, I got confirmation from the candidate that he received the FedEx package with the revised offer. He wrote me to say that this was "good news". Then, all of a sudden he disappeared for a couple of days. He never responded to email or returned calls. Of course, one starts to wonder at this point, and for good reason. The offer was going to be null and void at the end of the work week. Low and behold, he finally called me back up during the middle of the day on Friday and declined the revised offer. He could never give me any reason as to why that was now the case or what transpired during the past week. He was just accepting the other offer and that was it. The only thing that I finally got him to say is that it was true that he mislead both myself and the company during this process.

The reason why I write about this particular event is to again mention the fact that you are continuously in the process of building your brand. I do not have a problem with someone declining an offer that is made to them. It happens all the time. What I do expect is open communication and honesty throughout the process. I pride myself on that, and I think it is only fair to expect it in return. In this case, the engineer took a hit to his brand. You never know when something like this might come back to haunt you in the future. So, please, for all those candidates out there, please do your best to communicate in an "open" fashion when dealing with recruiters or companies alike. It is not that hard. And, you will garner great respect for doing so. Your brand will keep on expanding, and hopefully as a result, your career will flourish as a result.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

According to Study, Noncertified Engineers Make More Than Certified Engineers

There was a recent posting on SearchEnterpriseLinux that refers to a study by Foote Partners that concludes non-certified engineers are compensated better than certified ones. Overall, this should not come as a shock to people out there.

Generally, from what we witness, certified people tend to have less overall experience than non-certified engineers. That does not mean that is the case every time, but it is most of the time. And, it makes perfect sense. As I have written about in the past, the person with less experience is going to garner the greatest reward by attaining a certification. Essentially, this solidifies their knowledge to date. Corporations tend to use this as a barometer of ones skillset that are lacking significant time in the field.

However, as the person achieves more professional experience, the need for a certification does not really exist. Their work history is the primary measuring stick that companies look at for senior level positions. That is not to say that certification is going to hurt them, but it does not provide them the boost it does one that is lacking significant work experience. Therefore, if you are a senior level engineer and you desire to get a certification, great. Is it needed? Only in very rare situations.

If anyone has any open source related certification questions, you are welcome to send me an email. Or, you can visit us on our IRC channel, #hotlinuxjobs . We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Novell Layoffs

Matt Asay mentions in his blog The Open Road about Novell layoffs rumored to be in the works. Not only are they rumored, but they are taking place as I write this. I do not know the full extent of them or what divisions are affected, but I did speak with one of the victim's last week. It is probably best to leave it at that at the moment. But, I will tell you that I was a little surprised that they laid this individual off.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Pulling from the Community

I just read another article about a company that has been able to make what appears to be most of its' key hires through pulling people from the open source community in which they built their organization on. In this article, JT Smith, President of Plain Black Corporation, talks about the process he has gone through to hire the necessary developers to keep up with the expansion that his company is realizing. It is a well written piece that describes the process that Plain Black undergoes when examining potential talent for the organization. In essence, they have been able to make the recruiting piece of their business very efficient by utilizing the talent that they interact with on a daily basis. Thus, hiring the members of that community that they feel are best suited for their corporate culture. Good approach by JT and the other members of his staff, since recruiting can sometimes be a long and arduous process (especially in this market).

There are a few items that might be missing from this article if anyone else is looking to mimic this recruiting process. I would be willing to bet that JT has allowed some of his staff to work remotely. Usually, from our experience, open source based startups have been good at realizing the benefits of a telecommute arrangement. However, that is not always the case. I know I have stressed this time and time again, but in order to build the best engineering team, I believe it is a must to be flexible in the work arrangements that you offer. And, no more so than in the open source world. Unfortunately, this message has fallen on deaf ears more times than not.

The other major point is potential competition for Plain Black. I do not know enough about the WebGUI project and the number of organizations utilizing it as a base of their business model. But, I would imagine that luckily for JT and his organization, they rule the roost. Therefore, they essentially get the pick of the litter, because they are the WebGUI company. Very similar to Zend when they were formed. They are after all, Zend, the PHP company, so they were able to attract some of the best and brightest minds from the PHP community. As PHP has continued to gather steam over the years, you continually see influential active members of the PHP community dispersed throughout a number of companies.

Once that happens, we revert back to factors that companies deal with whether or not they operate in the open source space. Items such as compensation and benefits become very important to prospective employees, and it is essential that your offerings are competitive in the market. Also important is culture, and this is hopefully where open source companies can set themselves apart. There should be a likeness in the values and ideals of the potential employee and the company based on the project. That can give your organization a very big leg up in the constant hunt for talent. But, as I always hear on a daily basis, candidates always want to know about the entire package. So, there are always certain items that are more relevant to one person and not so much to the other. It is the beauty of being in the people business.

As I said before, this was a good read. I am always interested in hearing about the success of open source based companies and their recruiting methodologies. So far, it seems that JT and his staff are approaching their need for talent in a very good manner.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Being Blacklisted in an Industry

I was just reading an interesting post from Nick Corcodilos in his "Ask the Headhunter" series on He is asked from an individual if it is possible to be blacklisted from an industry for turning down an offer after you have accepted it. This is something that obviously crops up quite a bit in our industry. And, unfortunately, I have had to deal with it from time to time myself. It is always a tough situation for everyone involved. And, when you add the open source component to it, it even brings out more potential repercussions for the person's career. I focused on this aspect in my one article entitled, "Tip Toe Through the Open Source Tulips".

As he states, and rightfully so, it is not the end of the world if you do find yourself in this predicament. The key is how you handle the situation. I can not stress how important it is to be honest throughout the process, and you must handle it with the utmost professionalism. The worst thing that one can potentially do for their career is let it careen out of control. Therefore, you must tackle it head on. Apologize profusely as soon as possible for putting the company in this predicament. And, as Nick points out, if you happen to have a friend or former colleague that might be a possibility to fill the vacancy, that assists your situation tremendously.

I encountered this scenario earlier this year. A candidate had accepted a position, and then after doing so, was offered another position a few days later. He decided the subsequent offer was a better fit for him, primarily due to the commute. As is to be expected, the company did not look fondly on this particular individual shortly thereafter. However, after I explained the potential repercussions that would be felt by this candidate moving forward, he quickly offered up a former colleague that he thought might be a fit for the role. Sure enough, it worked out, and this former colleague now works at this company. So, I must give him credit for tackling it head on and making the best of the situation. Luckily in this case, there are no ill feelings on either side as a result of his actions. And, it has progressed quite nicely into a fruitful symbiotic relationship.

All in all, many of you might find yourselves in this situation at one point or another in your career. It is always wise to do your best to protect your reputation as much as possible. That can not be stressed enough especially in the open source world. As I have mentioned before, you are essentially in a continual state of polishing your brand, that being yourself. It is very important that others in the community continue to look fondly at the brand you have created to benefit your career to the greatest potential moving forward.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Linux Job Growth 30% YTD

A recent article by Datamation shows that has seen a 30% increase in job postings involving Linux year-to-date. They are now getting over 9,500 postings involving Linux and Open Source software a month. That is a pretty impressive number. And, all aspects of Open Source seem to be contributing to this growth nicely. Of course, you can see from the breakdown that some areas are hotter than others. But, overall it is a very impressive tally to say the least. You can get a good breakdown of the numbers involved here .

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Personality a key to being a Linux kernel developer

I know this has been discussed ad nauseam on how cruel the exchanges can be on the LKML. And, there is no doubt that one must display the right personality to thrive in the Linux kernel development environment. You can see what happens periodically when Con Kolivas recently decided to back away from his Linux kernel involvement.

Joe Barr of has a great little exchange with Linus Torvalds on how he handles criticism from other kernel developers. You can find that exchange here . As you can see, it is imperative that you take any criticism with a grain of salt. Provide your argument and be done with it. If you are the type that holds a grudge, you might find it difficult to thrive in this environment. The cruel world of Linux kernel development, but what a wonderful world it is!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Ongoing H1-B visa debate with an Open Source twist

Yesterday, I read a great article from by Jim Romeo about how the H1-B visa issue is affecting the world of Open Source. This is something I have harped on for a long time. In my opinion, we continue to be in need of increasing the number of H1-B visas that are allowed on a yearly basis. From our vantage point, there is clearly not enough talent to supply the demand that revolves around Open Source software. And, the fact that around 80% of the Open Source talent resides abroad, we should welcome those that are interested in coming to the U.S. to further their career.

Not only that, as the article points out, there is a potential need to loosen the standards when looking at H1-B applicants. I believe that to be a very crucial point. It is not newsworthy to note that a lot of very talented, well respected Open Source engineers might not have attained a higher education degree. However, it is very difficult to get H1-B visa acceptance without it. So, are we hindering our chances at furthering our technological landscape by this nearly mandatory requirement? I believe that is indeed the case. As with everything, it needs to be analyzed on a case by case basis. But, there sure is a strong argument to make on loosening that particular standard in certain circumstances.

Lastly, I really like one specific point made by Elizabeth Charnock, CEO of Cataphora, in the article. Primarily because it affects us as much as it appears to be affecting her and other organizations. That point is that there is a huge number of the yearly allotment of H1-B visas going to consulting companies abroad. The likes of Infosys, Wipro, etc. are eating these things up. Thus, they are putting the companies in a predicament whereby they need to look to these consulting companies to get the work done. Needless to say, it is a smart move by these large outsourcing outfits. However, in the end, it dampens the overall Open Source landscape and the number of entities that can participate. At the end of the day, if companies are not interested in working with these outsourcing firms and can not find the necessary talent, they move their technology base to where they can get the necessary talent. And, that may result in a situation away from Open Source and to proprietary. None of us want to see that happen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dice LinuxWorld Job Fair Report

I just got back recently from spending a week in the Bay area attending LinuxWorld. It is very interesting seeing the changes in that show over the last seven or so years. I am not sure how many more years it can last, but my primary objective was to go out there and witness Dice's job fair that they were putting on.

Being a Dice client over the years, they were interested in having us attend the job fair. Seems like a legitimate thing to do. However, we decided against doing so. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to have a booth on the big show floor a couple of times, as well as give a presentation there in the past. Bottom line, our return for doing so was not very great. For some rhyme or reason, it is tough to attract knowledgeable Linux candidates to San Francisco for that show.

Well, truth be told, it was no different this year. Thus, a wise move on our behalf. We had a few clients that decided to have a booth at the job fair. I decided to keep my mouth shut for most of the day. I did not know at that time if I was going to be correct in my assumption or way off base. Toward the end of the day, I traveled around to the different booths to get the verdict. Nearly everyone of them was disappointed. I wish I could report different. It would have been wonderful if they were able to attract a number of good candidates. We would have been a shoe-in for next year.

Bottom line, it is tough to get good people to show up for a job fair in this environment. I do not see that changing. Job fairs are yesterday in the world of recruiting. I applaud Dice for giving it a go. In their defense, it had pretty good attendance. They just were not able to attract the right type of candidates. And, I think they were trying to climb a never ending mountain in their attempt to do so. It will be interesting to watch if they attempt to try it again next year.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Another Doom and Gloom Article on the State of the Open Source Developer in the U.S.

Just got done reading an article from Datamation written by Rob Enderle entitled, "Will Google Kill Open Source (And do Open Source Developers Have to be Underpaid)". A link to the article is here . I am not really interested in the Google killing open source phenomenon. I have heard both sides of the story, as there is always a lot of debate about this, but I do not really lean one way or the other.

What interests me of course is when he talks about Open Source developers being underpaid. I want to focus on one particular paragraph in the article. It states the following:

"In addition, those that have adopted Open Source generally find line managers focused like a laser, not on getting down hardware or software cost (which is already as low as it can go, and you can’t get blood out of a stone), but on getting down labor cost, resulting in off-shoring or foreign labor being brought in at discount rates. There really is nothing to support the compensation for OSS developers like there generally is in the proprietary world."

I know I have discussed this in the past, but from my vantage point, I am not seeing what he perceives is happening. First of all, we are seeing salaries for Open Source developers in the U.S. increase at the present time. In my over seven years in recruitment of Open Source developers, I have yet to see them go down. There was a period during the "bust" that we saw them level off, but we have yet to see them go down. Currently, it is simple economics of supply and demand. The demand far outstrips the supply, therefore, there is no place for the average salary to go but up. Companies have really realized this and started to put it to work in the last 6-12 months. We have probably seen on average an increase of 5-10% in the level of base salaries in the last 12-18 months.

Now, I must admit, this does not account for the below average salaries that international based consulting firms initially bring their consultants into this country. But, the developers generally transition away from that arrangement and end up receiving the mean salary level once they do so. Therefore, if you want to argue in favor of his point of decreased salary levels, that is the only place that we have ever seen them, but that is the case whether it is open source based work or proprietary.

In addition to his compensation point, I am not too sure I agree with the off-shoring of positions as well. Do not get me wrong, it still takes place. But, I believe it does not take place anymore now than it has in the past. And, I would bet that there is even a decrease in off-shoring that is currently taking place. The two primary reasons behind this are increased salary levels of international talent and the quality of the end product. On the salary level front, you can just examine the financials of the Wipro's, etc. of the world to see that they continually are under pressure due to the increased salary levels abroad. They continuously have to look to a new venue to attract talent at an attractive rate. But, if you believe in the freedom of open source software, I would hope there are people that believe in a free market. If that is the case, this is just globalization continuing to take place.

Overall, I still think the future is very bright for the Open Source developer. There continues to be heavy demand for their talents, and thus I predict we will continue to see a steady climb in compensation levels for these individuals until the supply can catch up. And, I am not seeing that happening any time soon. Thus, no worries at the moment if you are an Open Source developer in the United States.

I am always happy to hear people's thoughts on this subject matter, so please feel free to either write a comment on the blog or send me a note, I will look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Becoming a Linux Developer

I get asked all the time from people on what they need to do to become a Linux developer. Reading this article was a good rehash of what I explain to a fair amount of people. Sure there are certain technical skills and communication skills that companies look for just like they have all along. But, there is the one main thing that separates Linux/Open Source based positions from one that you see from traditional proprietary companies.

Purely stated, it is the opportunity to get involved and create a name for yourself. No longer do you have to look for acceptance by a certain institution to realize your development aspirations. Instead, you have the ability to participate no matter who you are or where you are. It is all open, so participate to the best of your ability and create a name for yourself. The more you get involved, the greater the value of your personal brand per se. You are creating your own product and that is yourself. As you fine tune it and create a brand worth significant value, corporations will be clamoring for your services. It is that plain and simple.

Anyhow, if you are an aspiring Linux developer, please take a moment and read the two part series of that article. And, if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact HotLinuxJobs. Our goal is always to provide as much information and assistance as we can to people looking to get involved in open source based development.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Is the LKML's tone preventing up and coming kernel developers from particitpating

I was recently reading the interview with Con Kolivas, a former active kernel developer with a wide following. He recently decided to hang up his shoes as far as Linux kernel development goes. It appears that he was just fed up with the focus of where the kernel was going. From his vantage point, he did not feel there was enough emphasis on the desktop issues within the kernel.

Whether right or wrong on his take of the kernel development's direction, what I found interesting was his comments regarding the LKML. He appears to be not too fond (that is an understatement) of the attitude/professionalism/interaction of other kernel developers that take part in the development process. In one part of his interview with APC Magazine , he goes so far as to mention, "The Linux kernel mailing list is the way to communicate with the kernel developers. To put it mildly, the Linux kernel mailing list (lkml) is about as scary a communication forum as they come. Most people are absolutely terrified of mailing the list lest they get flamed for their inexperience, an inappropriate bug report, being stupid or whatever. And for the most part they're absolutely right. There is no friendly way to communicate normal users' issues that are kernel related. Yes of course the kernel developers are fun loving, happy-go-lucky friendly people. Just look at any interview with Linus and see how he views himself."

Now, we have known for years about the sometimes harshness of developers on the LKML. But, I had started to hear that times were changing, and people were more open with their responses. Of course, there will always be your flame wars, that is not going to go away, nor should it. However, my big concern is if people's interest in getting involved is diminished by certain behavior that takes place on LKML. With the lack of talent that exists to go along with the demand of corporations for solid Linux kernel programming skills, there must be an open door for developers.

Now, they have also set up other lists, such as kernel mentors and others that have been a great asset, in my opinion, to getting people to participate. The real question is who Con is speaking of. Is he speaking of developers that do not have enough experience to participate at that level, or are there experienced people that just do not want to participate for the fear of personal ridicule. If that latter is the case, it does not help the Linux and Open Source community from moving forward.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Open Source Developers in demand

A new article out by TechWorld mentions a list of much needed skill sets for IT professionals. Amazingly, Linux and Open Source made the list! (of course a bit of sarcasm there). The only thing I wonder is about a comment made by Sean Ebner of Spherion Pacific Enterprises that said, "Some people thought the sun was setting on open source, but it's coming back in a big way, both at the operating system level and in application development". I do not know, but I have been involved in open source recruiting for over 7 years, and I do not think I ever witnessed a time when the "sun might be setting" per se. The only time we have ever witnessed a slow down is when the whole market was slow after the major market correction after 9/11. Anyhow, if you want to find out the hot areas of the IT job market from the folks involved with this article, you can read it there. I am just glad that they were able to squeeze open source within the top 10.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Looking for good Open Source Developers

Just a quick mention that we are aggressively looking for talented developers in a number of areas.
They are as follows:

- Linux kernel engineers - locations on the west coast and east coast, but we would be happy to speak with any kernel engineers with authorization to work in the U.S.
- PHP developers - locations on the east and west coast (heavy needs in southern California at the moment)
- Ruby on Rails developers - primarily in the Bay area in California
- Toolchain developers - in the Seattle area at the moment
- Embedded Linux engineers - heavy needs in the Bay area in California

These are just a few of our needs at the moment. You can find out more details about these openings here .

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Interesting article on Compensation for Open Source Developers

Earlier this week, I read an article in Datamation about what the Open Source Researcher at SAP Labs thinks Open Source developers will be paid moving forward. Overall, he has some insightful ideas.

He goes on to state that "Committers" (a.k.a maintainers and other leaders of an open source project) will be compensated to a higher standard than other members of that project. That of course makes sense from a structural point, and we have seen this to be accurate in the marketplace. After making this point, he mentions that he believes the other open source developers (general project contributors) will actually see a dip in pay. I have to disagree with this point. I am not sure anyone is going to see a dip in pay, especially in this marketplace. And, I would hope that these contributors, through hard work and perseverance, will become the next maintainers. As a result they will see an uptick in their pay as this transition takes place. At the end of the day, the open source structure has similarities to other corporate structures in that certain individuals will experience growth and increased responsibilities which will result in higher pay, while there will be others that are not as motivated and become somewhat stagnant in their pay scale. This happens in basically every known entity that I have ever recruited for. Nothing new here.

One of the parts that I truly enjoy about this article is the mention of open source developers being "free agents". I think he is right on the money with this assessment. This is something that I have thought about for a few years, and I think it will take shape, if it has not started to do so already. In fact it has to some extent, with a lot of the open source maintainers being employed by some of the leading open source technology companies. However, I do not think we have seen the compensation piece take full effect yet. Me being a huge sports fan, I put it in that context. I see it no different than baseball players, football players, etc. If you are a good offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears, you more than likely will be a good offensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers. Sure, there is a new playbook, but you know the position well, and you should be able to adapt fairly easily. When these players make that move as a free agent, they reap the monetary effects of such a move. Same will be the case for open source developers. If you are the maintainer of a particular open source project at one company, and there are going to be other companies utilizing that project that are interested in your services, you should be able to continue your work without too many interruptions at your next place of employment. Sure, it is a different company with a different culture, but that is just like a different playbook for a different organization. At the end of the day, you are going to be doing the same work, for the most part, because that is what you were hired to do. They are going to provide you increased compensation because not only do you write solid code, but you are also an influential member of that community project.

My prediction, due to this scenario, is that the open source developer's future compensation levels is very bright. There is no question that the top developer's are going to see the biggest gains, but there will be gains throughout the ranks. We continue to experience a shortage of open source talent in the marketplace and this will just reinforce this notion. The beauty of open source, as has been mentioned countless times, is that you control your destiny no matter who you are or where you come from. You do not have to be a MS in EE from Stanford to excel in the open source world. Throw out the resume, it boils down to who's code is the most solid.

Overall, this is a very good read with other good examples and points that I did not have time to mention here. Take a peak at it when you get the chance.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mentioned in LKML FAQ's

We have known this for some time, but it is worth a mention for a shameless plug here. We are delighted that HotLinuxJobs is mentioned in the Linux Kernel Mailing List's (LKML) FAQ's , This mention comes at Question 21 in Section 3. That question relates to whether or not they accept job offer/request postings on the list, which of course is a huge NO, but they do mention that you might find a useful site. We extend our gratitude to Richard Gooch (FAQ Maintainer) for this mention, or the person that brought it to his attention. Thanks for the recognition!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Is it good that senior Linux kernel contributors are doing more managing than coding?

In a recent LinuxWorld article about Greg Kroah-Hartman's keynote at OLS this year, he spoke about how more of his time is spent reviewing code as opposed to producing it. Greg goes on to mention that in the latest kernel release, the 30 most active kernel developers only contributed about 30% of the code, while the 20 most active kernel developers contributed 80% of the code just two years ago. So, through this maturation process in Linux kernel development, is this good for overall Linux kernel development?

On the plus side, you have the most experienced kernel developers doing code review, so the code should be solid once it is officially integrated into one of the mainline kernel trees. Perhaps on the downside, with the experience that these kernel developers have, would they have been able produce the high quality code in a more efficient manner? I of course do not know the answer to that question, but it is something to ponder.

As the kernel matures and the organizational chart of Linux kernel development starts to look more like a corporation's organizational chart, it is very interesting to watch this transition. It sure starts to mirror the career decisions that developers are forced to make at one point or another in their career. They reach that "fork in the road" per se, and the decision has to be made as to whether or not they go the management route or stay in a development role. This appears to be the decision that is forced upon these well known kernel developers, and it will be interesting to see which ones take which path.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What happens if Red Hat signs a patent agreement with Microsoft?

As news continues to swirl about the likelihood of Red Hat signing a patent agreement with Microsoft, it brings an interesting question into the location of employment for top Linux kernel engineers. After posting Q1 results yesterday, Matthew Szulik, CEO of Red Hat, confirmed that he had talks with Microsoft last year about a patent agreement. That is not really news, but when he was asked if the discussions continue to this day, he mentioned that he could not answer the question. That somewhat goes against what the company has said in the recent past about the chances of a patent alignment between the two companies.

So, if indeed there is a culmination of these patent talks and an agreement is met, what does that mean for some of the leading kernel engineers that reside at the home of the red fedora? There is no doubt that Red Hat employs one of the greatest, if not the greatest, collection of kernel engineers; from the likes of Ingo Molnar to Alan Cox, etc. So, it begs the question, what would their stance be? Would they go the route of Jeremy Allison, whereby he decided to leave Novell and move to Google as a result of the Novell/Microsoft agreement? A lot of the engineers have been with Red Hat for a long time, much longer than Allison's tenure at Novell, so it would be very interesting. We will see how it plays out if an agreement is met.

Ultimately, the most interesting phenomenon as it pertains to employment is the power of the open source developer in today's market. Is it possible that due to this power, top kernel engineers can heavily influence the path of a corporation's endeavors. I believe this is indeed the case, and maybe more so moving forward, but we will discuss this in another post.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Welcome all Readers!

I have held off for a long time on writing a blog. It is something that I have contemplated in the past, but I have never acted upon it. Part of the reason is that I find a number of blogs filled with fluff. My goal in starting this blog is to provide you, the reader, with substance as best I can. We will see if that actually takes place (let's hope so) through the course of this journey.

Keeping with our line of business, this blog will focus on the nuances that we see take place in the recruitment of Linux/Open Source based professionals, both from a corporate and candidate perspective. We will obviously refrain from using corporate or candidate names, but it will be trials and tribulations of recruitment in the Open Source world.

Hopefully, you will enjoy reading these posts. And, as always, feedback is always welcome and appreciated!
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