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Personal and Software development: Paid model vs Open Source model

My last try to write about something related to OS’s was somehow a flamer on digg. Myabe I haven’t stated enough during the article that I was only interested in listening to opinions from the guys that actually switched from one OS to another, and that I didn’t try make any comparison between those two OS’s. So, if I would like to talk about something far more inflamable thant that, meaning paid model development vs open source model development, I thought I’d better put up first a

Disclaimer

This article represents my personal opinions only and is not endorsed by any company or foundation. Also, my intentions is, foremost, to just express my ideas about the values that each model could have, and not to accuse, adhere to or specifically endorse any of them.

Wow, it’s cool to be relaxed, so let’s start our little walk on the park of the personal and software development.

First of all, yest, it’s an odd pair: personal and software development. But I told you from the beginning: you wouldn’t find usual stuff here. Not because usual is not good, but because new connections and standpoints can always shed some new light and reveal new thinking paths on any topic you can imagine.

So, what would be the paid model for Personal Development?

University, of course. Good college, personal (paid) lessons with selected tutors. Those are the places in which you can achieve a lot of personal development using the paid model. You actually pay for your education and development. Almost the same may be considered a very good job where you get to be trained at least once a year. Because that will accounts also as personal development, and will be paid by your boss for your increased productivity and ideas. In this model also I could include the coaching expenses for a middle-to-top manager. You pay for a guy that keeps you on the track. Coaches are some of the highly paid persons I ever knew. And rumors are that they won those money for a reason.

OK, now what would be the paid model for Software Development?

You build something that you sell. As a software developer you can follow that model only if your software sells. If not, you’re out of job. You need a paying customer. Do you need expensive tools to develop by the paid model? I think no, you can use this model even on Linux if you want to. You can build a Linux application, find a customer for that, and sell it. Now, you’ve got your money, your expenses are covered, you may go even further, adding functionalities and keep the machine rolling. The most important thing to be noted for this model is the fact that, usually, the paid model requires not to expose your source code. The user can’t see how was made, nor to modify it in any form. Some of the biggest companies in the world are using this paid model. They aren’t necessarily the most honest companies, but their employees are making sometimes a more than decent living by working for them.

What would be the open source model for Personal Development?

Being an autodidact. Reading books, going to free seminars, experiencing stuff, finding other people that are willing to share their experiences and knowledge for free. Traveling and hunting new experiences. Being involved in large groups or foundations that are trying to organize themselves on a more relaxed approach than the ordinary society. Yes, one of them might be the ashrams, or other groups like these. This path is always perceived as a religious one, mostly because the people that are embracing it don’t care much about their day to day living and share a little bit of crazyness. But you don’t have to be a hippie to have an open source personal development model. You can have a decent job, remain in your city of choice (not going to Tibet, I mean) and still be an autodidact. You are just not paying directly to an organization or a person for your efforts, you are learning by what others are sharing.

And, of course, the open source model for Software Development?

I’m sure any of you has used more than once the results of this model. Almost each and every site on the Internet must be powered by a web server called Apache, and that application is the result of an open source model, backed up by the Apache Software Foundation. Firefox could also be there, and other zillions of applications that you may or may not know about. In this model, the software developer makes his work public, and just wait for the financial results to come. Most of the time, the developer has a full job decently paid, and he’s only working part time as an open source developer. The most important thing in Open Source is the fact that anybody has access to the source files. You actually see and modify the other guy’s work. The reward in this model is a little cumbersome. Either you try to get donations for your products, either you switch your business form products to services, starting to build custom applications or to be a consultant.

Which one is which one?

The paid model is a low risk model with higher and more clear results.. It guarantees you a constant flow of money, either as a business analyst, freshly spitted out from Harvard, either by a full-time developer for Oracle. The personal development process, when used in the paid model form, gives you a larger acceptance degree from the society. You’ll be more likely to be inserted and promoted in the social hierarchy, because paying for stuff comes with a receipt: in this case, your diplomas, which are a very strong currency in the world of business. But I think there is a downside to this: society is an evolving animal. It constantly changes in unpredictible ways. At some point, the results you achieved by paying for them, will quickly become obsolete. You’ll eventually need an upgrade for your personal development status, or a service-pack for your office application. So, in order to keep up the pace, you’ll have to spend more.

The open source dvelopment model is a much riskier model. As a developer, you’ll never know if you’ll make it through the end of the month, financially speaking. You won’t have any solid revenue stream. As for personal development also, evolving in an open source model is more likely to be a prone to error endeavour, because without proper guidance you can easily get into non-senses and fake gurus influences. And the society will always have a “2 steps back” approach for you: you’ll be unclassifiable. Without proper diplomas (or receipts for your spendings), you won’t be easy to be labelled and that will make people afraid. But there is a very interesting advantage: in the open source model, you can really hit big. By making your own rules, from your own experience, you can actually create a huge amount of value for the society: you can write something like Linux, or Apache, or PHP. Or you can become a self-made person with a huge influence on the world. And then, as in any open source model, you will give access to your sources to anybody that wants to follow your path.

Feel free to comment on that: how do you manage your self-development process? Is it a paid model? Is it an open source model?

[tags]personal development, open source[/tags]


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This Post Has One Comment
  1. good blog…….. The open source dvelopment model is a much riskier model. As a developer, you’ll never know if you’ll make it through the end of the month, financially speaking. You won’t have any solid revenue stream.

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