Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are Open Source Developers More Satisfied in Their Jobs?

There is a very interesting conversation that has been taking place on the Apache mailing list over the last week. Grant Ingersoll is trying to collect feedback from engineers that either develop or utilize open source software. He is interested in learning whether or not they are happier in their position than engineers that are working with closed sourced software. Therefore, do open source engineers gain more satisfaction from their accomplishments? Do they have a feeling of contributing to the greater good? As a result, are they more engaged than their counterparts working with closed source software? It is a very interesting question to say the least. And, one that companies should pay attention to in the recruitment and retention of their employees.

One of the responses that summed it up best was from Michael McCandless. Ultimately, he stated that even though he has worked with both open and closed source software, he inherently felt greater satisfaction from his work with open source software. He went on to post a link to a YouTube video that puts together a nice illustrated story of why people that contribute to open source software are more satisfied in their job. It is very entertaining, and the artist is quite good.

Ultimately, I concur with the videos assessment. If you empower your employees and their work results in assisting other people achieve a goal, it is an uplifting experience for the developers. It becomes a commitment as opposed to a job. The end result is more satisfied employees that contribute to a successful organization.

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