01 Sep

Why do I Contribute to Open Source?

Note: Before I start this post, in my last post, “Why I Use Open Source”, I made a couple of errors based on what they commented on, mainly on the whole, “who had tabbed Internet browsers first”.  I will do my homework (read: research) and see who is right.

As I said in, Why I Use Open Source” (link above), I have one more example why I use Open Source and also contribute to it.  No, wait!  I have two examples and they will be order based on importance to me.

Example One: Sense of Community

This one is the big one for me, more than the recognition factor.  I don’t know why I feel a very excellent sense of community within the Ubuntu Community.  Maybe it’s the first FOSS/Linux community that I got my head into and was able to get something done.  Why am I saying this?  I found that because of the checks and balances nature of the Open Source and also the volunteer nature, that the members understand what they are creating and giving away will help the greater good.  Also, many of these members are liked-minded and like and like will stick together and care for each other.

Or maybe it’s because throughout the various things that I done with community service (A.K.A. service learning), I have learned that in certain communities, there is a sense of people caring for each other and many of them are like-minded. I think I done about 100 hours of community service where I volunteered at my freshman high school (I went to a school district had freshmen in one building and the 10 -12 graders in another) for a concert band contest to doing 50 hours (I needed 25 hours for a class but ended up doing 50) at a non-profit place that offers free arts and crafts to kids.  Even though I wasn’t helping the kids to create their masterpieces, I was working two and half hours, two times a week, to get the materials ready.  I didn’t mind being the background worker.  But I knew that I gave an impact to the community because I knew that what I was helping to get ready will be given away to kids who want to be creative and want to learn how to create something with there own two hands.

After four years of being an Ubuntu user, I finally gave into the Ubuntu Community and I enjoying so far.  After one year of working in the Community, I really do have great sense on how the Community is no matter the size of it.  I really want to move on into another one, maybe a Open Science one that doesn’t really require anyone to know how to develop/code.

Example Two: Sense of Recognition

If you read books or articles about community, one consistent theme you will find in almost all of them is the importance of recognizing  the contributions that people make. In fact, if you look at a wide variety of successful communities, you would find that one common thing they all offer in exchange for contribution is recognition. It is the fuel that communities run on.  It’s what connects the contributor to their goal, both selfish and selfless. In fact, with open source, the only way a contribution can actually stolen is by now allowing that recognition to happen.  Even the most permissive licenses require attribution, something that tells everybody who made it.

-Michael Hall, from “Why do you contribute to open source?

I do agree with this quote above because there won’t be anyone who wants to contribute if they are not recognized for their work.

At least in the Ubuntu Community (I don’t know about other FOSS communities), the biggest way that one can be recognized for their work is the Ubuntu Membership and it’s perks.  Even though I’m a community building centred person, I still post news about the teams that am I part of or lessons that I have learned.  These posts are useful because they show what I do and how they impact the community.

In my next post I will talk about why I blog since I have talked about here.

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