FreeSoftwareMotivations

The Free Software society, Free Software movement, Open Source movement, Open Culture, Free Culture, what have you, is the product of many many very different human motivations and attitudes.

Two of these motivations can be characterized by:

These motivations are not intrinsicly antagonistic, but there can be some scuffle between them.

The “I-do-what-I-want” side of things doesn’t want to be told what to do. The world builders can get frustrated when the “I-do-what-I-want” reject the principle of organizing.

Some insights:

I think it’s worth reiterating: The goal of the effort, as a whole, shared by both “I-do-what-I-want” and “civilization builders,” is for there to be more of: “I do what I want!”

Discussion

This is based on a conversation Alex & I had in the gmail chat talk thing.

The “very important” missing points, I feel, must be something like the following:

  • the joy of helping your neighbours
  • the joy of hearing praise and thanks
  • the joy of shared excitement

I’m not sure this requires the ulterior motive of “building a new world”. It seems to me that the “I do what I want” faction can take a very short-sighted at the future. Software development turns into a series of small, incremental steps, and each one of them is required to bring joy. The “I do what I want” faction is probably not as frustration tolerant as the factions with ulterior goals.

Recently, Jorgen Schäfer linked to What makes your developers stick around? by Joshua Allen Holm, on Google+. It’s a summary of Brenda Chawner’s thesis Factors Influencing Participant Satisfaction with Free/Libre and Open Source Software Projects (2011). Jorgen said: “The suggestions are not particularly revolutionary, but considering how often contributing to some free software projects feels like wading through mud and fighting against the project instead of working with it, even these rather simple suggestions can make a huge difference.”

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