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Open Source Software

FLOSS 2013: the Survey For Open Source Contributors, a Decade Later 27

grex writes "In 2002, the first FLOSS survey was launched. With over 2,500 participants, it was the first large survey of open source developers around the world and had a major impact in the community, academia and politics. Over 10 years later, a group of researchers is replicating this survey in order to see how the community has changed. This time not only developers, but all kind of contributors to open source projects are asked to participate. How has the community changed in this last 10 years? Are the views the same? Is its composition and focus similar? These types of questions, among others, are the ones this survey is looking to answer (so far with over 1,000 respondents)."
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FLOSS 2013: the Survey For Open Source Contributors, a Decade Later

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  • by Camembert ( 2891457 ) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @05:00AM (#45592855)
    I am a regular user of open source. I am not a programmer. Obviously it has been successful in linux kernel stuff. But while there are a number of successful end user application projects, there could be many more. The one thing that is frustrating for me is how many interesting projects die when the primary programmer moves on. Also I find it a pity that several open source programmers work on competing projects, which often get left behind. Imagine if they had pulled forces together - like on the most succesful project such as VLC, it simply does not seem necessary to start your own variant project of these. At the risk of getting flak, I always found it such a waste to have both KDE and GNOME desktop and overlapping related apps projects. Both are of course rather succesful, but imagine what the current status would be if people had stayed with one project instead.
    • by varag ( 714360 )

      I completely disagree with your point. Part of the attraction for me is the ability to switch from one to another at will.

      • Oh, I know that, it is a nice theory. However in many cases we end up with many half-finished applications for roughly the same functionality instead of one neat app. Gnome and KDE are each quite succesful but they and their apps could have been 4 years further in the evolution if there was one desktop. In my opinion!
        • Successful in the not-so-humble opinion of author of parent post. Others may use a different yardstick to measure success.

          Gnome and KDE have very different, and basically contradictory, approaches to desktop management. You could probably combine the two: you could probably take the design for the biggest cement mixer truck ever and combine it with the design for the fastest Ferrari ever. But you would end up with shite.

          The same goes for other places where there appears to be competition between FOSS prod

          • by Kinwolf ( 945345 )

            Apache is a good counter-example. There is basically only one way to be the Best Web Server Ever, so Apache has no significant FOSS competitors. Persons who see a way to make a server better contribute to the Apache project.

            Nginx maybe?

      • by aiadot ( 3055455 )
        I partially agree with you but partially agree with the parent post as well. Competition is good but fragmentation is not. Developer time is precious and limited. For one project to simultaneously develop for many similar APIs and ecosystems can be really costly and inefficient in many aspects. I personally would just prefer that each team focused on getting something that works well first on limited number of configurations first and then expand in to other APIs/devices/environments/OS later. Successful cl
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To give you an idea of how open source software works and the forces at play, without getting into specifics I will tell you the history of a project of mine.

      Like all lazy programmers, I didn't just decide to write code. Instead I was led there because I was using some software and it didn't do things the way I wanted them done. I got involved in the mailing list and explained what I wanted to do, offering my services to do it. Nobody else was keen on doing things the way I wanted them done, so I decided

    • If everyone worked together on a single tool for each job, we'd likely have a bunch of tools which are bloated, complicated, try to be everything to everyone, and end up being useful to nobody.
      Some projects might be wildly more successful than others, but that doesn't mean that one is a fundamentally better solution than the other, or that the less-successful one is pointless or useless. It just means that more people prefer one over the other.

      Why is it seen as good that we have choice and competition in mo

    • Choice is good and not having to choose is also good.
      Thats the best aspect of KDE and Gnome. As a user you might choose one of these as a base desktop environment others are available but your still free to pick up the applications that you want to use.

      I'd bet most users (who have a choice) use a mixture of Kde and Gnome applications.

      Kde seems to be making some advances in supporting touch and making the view part of MVC more flexible and why shouldn't it be this way wimp and touch interfaces have differin

    • To me, this is a big problem. There's a great deal less development of applications. There are tons of productivity projects that are years, sometimes a decade or more, out of date compared to commercial applications. Frequently they've been left in a halfassed, marginally functional state. Largely, the open source community has failed to deliver on FSF's vision of free software for the masses, unless the free software you want happens to a Linux desktop or an Android phone or some works-pretty-well-bu

    • At the risk of getting flak, I always found it such a waste to have both KDE and GNOME desktop and overlapping related apps projects. Both are of course rather succesful, but imagine what the current status would be if people had stayed with one project instead.

      Well, the reason there's both KDE and GNOME needs a little historical context. KDE relied (and still does) heavily on the then-closed Qt toolkit. The authors of GNOME wanted to build something basically like KDE, except with entirely free software components. Naturally, they also needed to write replacements for KDE applications too, because they also relied on Qt.

      Of course years later Trolltech relicensed Qt under the LGPL so there was no longer any fear of Qt vanishing and KDE having to scramble to find a

    • That damn free market.

      Obviously the only successful way to run the show is to have a central committee decide what everyone needs and wants, and an effective 5-year plan to meet those objectives.

    • There are 2 relevant cliches:

      * You can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all the people all of the time
      * Show me your strength and I'll show you your weakness

      Note: Capitalism has the same strengths and weaknesses as Open Source. Let me explains ...

      The strength of having diversity in "competing" open source programs is that they help feed off one another to make themselves better. Think of a little friendly healthy competition. The user in this case benefits as "vendors" try

  • Even in Open Source you can't get away from the census!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Trend #1: Reinventing the wheel. We don't need yet another programming language or MVC framework. We don't need two incompatible and competing versions of Python. We don't need Google churning out new programming languages. The amount of time and effort wasted on reinventing wheels is significantly damaging the software industry, which needs to go back to standards. Pick a language and use it, and develop that language, rather than inventing new ones every month. Fragmentation is making progress difficult.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    The responses here are rather depressing. As a(n extremely humble) coder, to have a half dozen posts complaining of fragmentation is rather depressing. Somewhere there must be a non-trivial program which was written purely for the sake of doing so, but for the general case we may say that software is written neither accidentally nor arbitrarily, but to remedy a lack in existing software. It is in exceedingly bad taste to complain about any article offered gratis, but to say that the work involved was counte

  • I like FreeCiv - that's one FOSS that I use regularly, and which would enable me to switch to something other than Windows (aside from the usual Firefox/Chrome & the rest)

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson