Squeezing One Year of Work into Eight

by chromatic

Software development is rarely easy. Even though some open source pragmatists suggest that Linus's Law makes traditional schedules and planning obsolete, I remain skeptical. (I've worked on a few pieces of F/OSS in the past decade; I believe that I've earned a right to be skeptical.)


Leon Timmermans
2007-09-17 12:21:51
I mostly agree with you, but I think you are forgetting about one important factor: competence. We all know that competence can very enormously. We're told good programmers are 10 times as productive as mediocre ones (my personal experiences confirms this view). I wouldn't dare claiming that open source programmers are better than programmers of proprietary software, but I do believe that the programmer of a successful open source program is highly likely to be a good programmer. Mediocre open source programmers just won't get anywhere on their own. In proprietary software development it is not uncommon to work with an army of mediocre programmers (at best). Because of that their numerical advantage is much less than one may expect.
2007-09-19 05:20:45
Good points, but on the other hand not every hired programmer has a good enough environment to work in. Perhaps those five hours a week that you can work on your project are spent in a much more productive environment (like your own bedroom), which can compensate somewhat the latency problem.

The classic book Peopleware presents some evidence showing that quietness and non-interruptibility are critical factors of productive work environments. I don't think many companies know about that yet.

2007-09-20 07:58:40
Gnustavo: I agree. Also, commercial projects are subject to the whim of business politics. You might spend two months working on something, only to find it's no longer in vogue, and the powers that be have decided to axe it.

Your bedroom environment might also be much better in a technical sense as well. I'm sure plenty of us have turned up to work for a big company, only to find we don't have logins, aren't allowed to install our favourite OS or development tools, etc. etc.