Contributing Back

A while ago Dries wondered about Contributing back to Drupal .

Now Inuits is not a Webshop, we are an Open Source shop, so you won't see a zillion Drupal modules being contributed by us in the near future (albeit there are a couple) , we are company assisting other organisations in their adoption of Open Source, and Drupal is amongst the projects we care for. You'll notice code from us in the different other Open Source projects, including the Linux Kernel and other core infrastructure. And not all of it was code, there is a lot of published documentation, methodologies, bughunting and also spreading the words, or talking about our experiences around different topics such as MySQL Cluster and Drupal, or different alternatives to Monitor , or to Monitor MySQL etc ..

But we've been contributing in different other ways to open source and we have always been benefiting from that. And we try to convince our customers to do so too.
So Dries is right in all his reasons why one should contribute back to open source, specially as an organisation that uses OpenSource for it's customers you just have to.

The lack of contributions however might have different reasons
I can imagine however that the moment a commercial Open Source company starts backing or distributing people start looking at that project in a different way.

The amount of contributions to a pure open source project has been traditionally lower than the amount of code contributed to an open core project.

And I`m pretty sure that most of the braindead box moving RedHat and other so called Value Added Resellers aren't contributing a single line of code and my fear is that with the current growth of open source adoption that more of those traditional IT shops will just resell support subscriptions as if it were just another software product.

Now the Drupal community is one with a lot of developers so things might be different there compared to a group of system integrators that are installing operating systems and don't know the difference between python and php.

I think we'll see more and more open source users that aren't planning to contribute back, (although it is easy ) , But do we honestly think te group of developers is infinite ? However the more Open Source users the more chance we have these users turn into developers, I just don't think the current percentages will stay the same.

Anyway .. we'll continue to contribute.. and we hope you do the same ...


Sam Kleinman's picture

#1 Sam Kleinman : Here here!

I agree with what you say, and I think it's very important that open source folks and open source-based businesses have these kinds of ongoing conversations as much as possible.

We use the term open source rather than free software (mostly) because it's easy to understand at first: "Open source, so the source is open and accessible. Okay?" rather than "It's free, as in it protects your freedom, and our freedom--but mostly your freedom--not free like beer, I mean, yes, it doesn't cost anything, except we're going to charge you, but it's free. Clear? I guess not."

As a result I've seen a lot of open source vendors that market their process on merits of "the community that develops the software," except that when reading that bullet point, I often get a sinking feeling because it's never particularly clear to the outsider (particularly the outsider for whom the "open source," definition is clearly targeted to) who's in that community, why anyone would want to be in that community? People who know about open source, are better at beginning to talk about these things, but, it's an ongoing process, of course.