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Who Needs Sleep?

Posted by editor on June 19, 2008 at 6:54 AM PDT

Why stay up late hacking on Open Source?

A question about open source: what's in it for you? Some would argue that open source depends on a give a little / get a lot mentality -- you contribute something you're good at, and then dip into the pool of everyone else's output. Problem is, this doesn't address the "free rider problem". There's not much about using open source that requires users to make any form of contribution. And in the big picture, most don't (indeed, OSS users surely outnumber capable developers by several orders of magnitude). So for anyone to be creating open source software, there must be some other motivation.

Bruno Ghisi takes on this question in the weblog Why do we write open source code?, in which he produces survey results from 2002 showing four general groups of OSS developers -- believers, skill enhancers, fun seekers, and professionals -- and the factors that motivated them.

I can understand this group segmentation, but I think the time has definitely changed and we - communities, companies and softwares - have definitely evolved. Some years ago, Java was not open source, Firefox and were getting more adopters, Ubuntu was not out, companies were not doing contests and giving prizes away, etc, etc, etc. But my big question is, why do you write open source code? I mean, why do you join, for example,, SourceForge, Google Code or freshmeat and commit your code there in order to create a whole community around it? Why do you send code to help a current open source project? Answering this question, I would say that I am a believer because I do it for the knowledge sharing between people, but I definitely do it for the fun too. How fun is sharing your ideas, getting new ones, mixing all together and creating something even more nice?!

So what do you think? Are you in it for the fun? The prestige? The renown or the improvement in your own skills? Or something else entirely?

Also in today's Weblogs, Collin Fagan offers A Thumbnail Preview Tabbed Pane. "Lately I've been spending my spare time contributing code samples to the The Java Tutorial Community Portal. My latest addition is a tabbed pane that shows a preview of a tab as a thumbnail tooltip."

Arun Gupta gets back to the tips in
TOTD #33: Building GlassFish v3 Workspace.
"Reviving after a 2-week hiatus ... This TOTD (Tip Of The Day) provides complete instructions on how to checkout/build GlassFish v3 workspace."

In Java Today,

Kirill Grouchnikov introduces a new project to assess Swing L&F performance in LightBeam - measuring performance of Swing look-and-feels. "About a month ago i have introduced the new project named LightBeam that aims to assist look-and-feel writers to measure performance of their libraries under various static and dynamic scenarios. I have used this tool extensively during the performance optimizations of the next release of Substance look-and-feel, and it has now reached its first official release 1.0 code-named Antares."'s OpenEco project is a global on-line community that provides free, easy-to-use tools to help participants assess, track, and compare energy performance, share proven best practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and encourage sustainable innovation. This eco-focused community, connected around carbon accounting & energy efficiency, uses an open source and modular platform based on Solaris, Java and MySQL, making it a secure, robust and flexible environment.

A new SDN article looks at the Next Generation in Applet Java Plug-in Technology. "It's time to take another look at Java applet technology for delivering your programs over the web. The Next-Generation Java Plug-in Technology runs applets in a different, more efficient and more reliable way than ever before." The article highlights the plug-ins JNLP support for using JNLP extensions and APIs.

In today's Forums,
chenf lays out LWUIT support specifics in
Re: Device Requirements.
"Generally speaking LWUIT runs on CLDC1.1\MIDP2 devices, we have tested on the following devices: (this is one of the thing we need help from the community to help us track the devices, so feel free to add devices to the wiki, thanks). Regarding memory, this is really dependent on the application code(how many resources, images, forms....), however we've noticed a typical application will consume ~1-2 mega heap.(our lwuit demo occupies ~800k heap and it has plenty of images, themes, forms, transitions...)."

mthornton clarifies Derby/JavaDB confusion in
Re: Java Web Start and Derby.
"Derby is merely packaged with JDK6. It is not included in JRE6 nor is it on the system classpath in JDK6. If you want WebStart clients to be able to use Derby you have to deliver it too over WebStart."

Finally, paulby explains Project Wonderland's licensing motivation in
Re: Why is wonderland's License GPL?
"Why did we select GPL v2 ? There are a number of reasons for choosing this license 1) It allows anyone to take the source and experiment with it, extend it and deploy it in any way they want, 2) While requiring contribution back to the community, extensions (or bug fixes etc) to the core must be given back to the community by everyone who makes changes, to benefit of all. 3) The license does not prohibit others from making commercial offerings (ie money) using the technology. 4) It's familiar, and well understood by many people (and many corporate legal departments), which lowers the effort required by others to determine if the license is acceptable to them, 5) Lastly, if GPL does not meet your needs we are open to discussing commercial licensing possibilities."

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Why stay up late hacking on Open Source?