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Open Source Impact on S/W engineers

Stev Chaos
Greenhorn

Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 7
I used many open source stuff like struts,tomcat, ant ..., but personally, I don't like those open source people. It is true that with open source, a programmer's life is much easier. However, the side effects are :

1) Very skilled programmers/developers are not required in a project team,
because the most difficult part is in the Open source library;
2) Skilled programmer/developers will have to do simple and easy work, which in turn means, the programmer can't get well paid;
3) A project team need less team members, cos we use 'free' open source.

what do these mean to an individual in the IT industry ? He/she has weaker bargining power to use when negotiating a pay rise or securing a new position.

I know most software engineers like showing off, want let other people know they are the best. Also, the union is the least popular in the IT industry . When complaining the job market is quiet or when complaining no pay rise during the last 24 months, should all we IT people sit down and think systematically why this can happen?
[ June 21, 2005: Message edited by: Stev Chaos ]

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Vishwa Kumba
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 27, 2003
Posts: 1064
Last year, I was interviewed by 1 consulting company in the UK. They asked me, if I was involved in any open source project. I told them No, and they asked me why?. I told them I didn't find time and we mostly use vendor products.

I was not selected but later on, came to know that this company fancied/preferred people who worked on open source projects!
Arjunkumar Shastry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 28, 2005
Posts: 986
Originally posted by Vishwa Kumba:

I was not selected but later on, came to know that this company fancied/preferred people who worked on open source projects!

So whats wrong in that? . Reading 500 lines written by somebody else thirteen years back,,understanding why (s)he has written them only in that fashion,modifying them,adding some features and removing the bugs,Can everybody do that ?


Namma Suvarna Karnataka
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Stev Chaos:
I don't like those open source people. It is true that with open source, a programmer's life is much easier. However, the side effects are


Let's go through those "side effects" and see how valid they really are, after all:

Very skilled programmers/developers are not required in a project team, because the most difficult part is in the Open source library;


That's an interesting assertion. Basically all of the repetetive work of forwarding servlet requests (and actually creating those servlet requests) is the hard part, and the complicated custom business logic that I'm duplicating is pretty mundane? You've obviousl never dealt with my business logic.

There is no value-add in forcing programmers to repeat the same old thing over and over again in a non-core functional area. Would you suggest that device drivers at the OS level instead of the application level are a poor thing for programmers, since it commoditizes some of the most difficult parts of code? I remember the days when my video cards would include drivers for WordPerfect, Word, 1-2-3, AutoCAD. I think just having a video card that supports Windows is a huge advancement.

Skilled programmer/developers will have to do simple and easy work, which in turn means, the programmer can't get well paid;


I consider struts a fiendishly overcomplicated piece of garbage and refused to use it, and wrote my own action forwarding servlet in an afternoon. I certainly don't look at that part as the complicated pieces compared to my business logic. I have to do workflow, transactions and commit one transaction based on the results of another transaction on a totally different system. The action forwarding servlet was the simple and easy work, trust me.

A project team need less team members, cos we use 'free' open source.


I don't see inefficiency as a viable long-term way of ensuring that programmers' ranks keep swelling, and I don't see needing to have more people on my team as being a good thing. However, even if that isn't viable, your assertion cannot be supported. I'm not sure how open source can lead to smaller teams, since money that would ordinarily be used to pay for software licenses can be redirected to developer salaries. If I use Tomcat and postgres, my software cost is zero. If we replace those with WebSphere and DB2, we have to buy them and that comes out of our budget.

what do these mean to an individual in the IT industry? He/she has weaker bargining power to use when negotiating a pay rise or securing a new position.


I'm not sure where paying for my development tools gives me a stronger or weaker bargaining position. If anything, open source means I can get an application server, database, IDE and a variety of add-on frameworks for free. The individual developer can learn and practice on the same tools that used to be restricted to large corporations.

Also, the union is the least popular in the IT industry. When complaining the job market is quiet or when complaining no pay rise during the last 24 months, should all we IT people sit down and think systematically why this can happen?


And when you get laid off in favor of a less qualified or talented individual simply because he or she has been in the union longer and consumed more oxygen, you'll see why there such a bad thing.

Cheers!

Luke
Stev Chaos
Greenhorn

Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 7
Luke, thanks for your comments with deep insight.

I raised my concerns in the favor of all programmers/software engineers employed in the IT industry, not an individual, that is , not you, not me , but a group; of course, not in the favor of employer either.

Basically I am not talking about techincal issues, I am talking about political issues.

There are two catergories of people in the market:
1) software producer - programers, software engineers; software company and its owner are not considered as producer, my emphasis is the 'origin' of the sofware ;
2) user

It is simple:
1) if you give your product ( software) to others for free, you are not paid for your hard workd;
2) those producers that don't do 'open source' , will have to cut down their software's price, because there are many free open source competitors;

That means , all software engineers as a group, will not be able get fully paid for their work! again, I am talking about a group of people, not individual.

For open source people, you sacrifice your week end with your lover, and your spare time with your son in play ground, you put in great effort and commitment, you build a perfect software , you love it so much , as if it is your most precious art work, why do you give it to others for free ? Why? Why? you are deserve to be paid!!! If you don't care money, you can denote it to charity orginazation .

The following are relevent to Luke's argument:





Originally posted by Luke Kolin:


That's an interesting assertion. Basically all of the repetetive work of forwarding servlet requests (and actually creating those servlet requests) is the hard part, and the complicated custom business logic that I'm duplicating is pretty mundane? You've obviousl never dealt with my business logic.

There is no value-add in forcing programmers to repeat the same old thing over and over again in a non-core functional area...

Luke


It is not that interesting - both Junior S/W engineers and senior ones can program business logic, maybe, you are senior, you program complicated business logics; but as far as I know, application framework ,architecture descision is make only by senior ones, you not only need consider functionality, but also other things like reusibility, flexibility, extendsibiity...

Forther more, I am not saying that people should spend time on non-core functional area;what I am saying, if there is no open source ( like the struts framework ) , a company has to either :
1) buy commercial code , like the Rogue Wave; that means software engineer that develop the Rogue Wave at least get paid;
2) develop the framework internally, means those senior people with strong skills are get paid;


Originally posted by Luke Kolin:


I don't see inefficiency as a viable long-term way of ensuring that programmers' ranks keep swelling, and I don't see needing to have more people on my team as being a good thing....

Luke


Again, I am talking in the favor of employees , not employer;
I am not talking about technical issues. Though you lead a team, you are still an employee, if you are not owner.

Originally posted by Luke Kolin:


I'm not sure where paying for my development tools gives me a stronger or weaker bargaining position. If anything, open source means ...

Luke


The programmer use to be a very skilled job, only very intellegent people can take it; now, the situation has changed, people have average(or even below) IQ , can write a very powerful software easily, thanks for the modern technologies in the IT world. With open source, these technology are free to use; the thing is , the developers , authors of technology are deserved to be paid, cos technology is so good, it even enable the least integllegent person to write microsoft windows.



Originally posted by Luke Kolin:


And when you get laid off in favor of a less qualified or talented individual simply because he or she has been in the union longer and consumed more oxygen...

Luke


I found a big difference between the IT people and Non IT people.

I am an IT professional, and have the same uglyness as anyone else. Since 9.11 , our company have had 6 head count cuts; I never worried about my job security, because there always victims before me; when I see my victim collegue leave, I always feel I can keep the job not only because I am luck, but because I am more important to the company than those victims;

What will people in other industry do, if their collegues lose job ? They will not just sit there watching, or enjoy their luck, they take industry actions!!! They strike! They will ask for the explantion !! My collegue and me are in the same boat, today , he is the victim, tomorrow , I will! we need fight together.


BTW, English is not my native language, hope the post convey my idea clearly, not literally perfect.

[ June 23, 2005: Message edited by: Stev Chaos ]
[ June 23, 2005: Message edited by: Stev Chaos ]
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Stev Chaos:
That means , all software engineers as a group, will not be able get fully paid for their work! again, I am talking about a group of people, not individual.


There are thousands of software products made every day using open source products that are not released to the public, and are most certainly charged for. I use open source products to build an auction tracking system that is closed-source and proprietary, because it's a key business process for my employer. It will never get "given away".

What is happenning is that the key value proposition is not making commodity software, but doing something with it, and there's no requirement that this be opensourced or even used outside of a company. It will certainly make money for a corporation. Google uses entirely opensource technologies, but they don't give their stuff away, and they certainly pay their people well.

What will people in other industry do, if their collegues lose job ? They will not just sit there watching, or enjoy their luck, they take industry actions!!! They strike! They will ask for the explantion !! My collegue and me are in the same boat, today , he is the victim, tomorrow , I will! we need fight together.

Forther more, I am not saying that people should spend time on non-core functional area;what I am saying, if there is no open source ( like the struts framework ) , a company has to either : 1) buy commercial code , like the Rogue Wave; that means software engineer that develop the Rogue Wave at least get paid; 2) develop the framework internally, means those senior people with strong skills are get paid;


What you fail to recognize is that the money required to either buy a commercial product or develop it in house has to come from somewhere, adding to the total cost. That may tilt a project from being valuable and generating a return, to something that is not. At which point NOTHING gets done, nothing gets written, nothing gets purchased and no one gets paid.

The programmer use to be a very skilled job, only very intellegent people can take it; now, the situation has changed, people have average(or even below) IQ , can write a very powerful software easily, thanks for the modern technologies in the IT world.


That's called productivity, and it's a good thing. To be honest, I don't see how open source has caused this. Does postgres require fewer skills than Oracle to use, or does Java or PHP require less talent than C#?

While it might not be good for developers' short-term job security if they are no longer a mysterious caste that works magic, it's a good thing for society as a whole. It wasn't too long ago historically that concepts such as reading and writing were restricted so that those who were literate could maintain their status in society. My job prospects might certainly be better of folks outside of North America were incapable of communicating in English - does this sound like a good deal to you? I didn't think so.

What will people in other industry do, if their collegues lose job ? They will not just sit there watching, or enjoy their luck, they take industry actions!!! They strike! They will ask for the explantion !! My collegue and me are in the same boat, today, he is the victim, tomorrow , I will! we need fight together.


Generally speaking, the industries with the highest levels of industrial action have been the least successful over the long run, causing permanent job losses for their members.

Cheers!

Luke
Prem Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2005
Posts: 189
Here is my exsperience with open software. I use Apache myFaces, tomcat, torque. I did this right out of school after strugling for a year for a job. And the business logic for my app is hardcore medical stuff.

If it were not for open source components and frameworks I would not even be employed in IT. In Canada, there is no such thing as entery level. One must be able to produce serious code in there first week. Suit would laughf at me when I asked for a job that uses .

So i used apache to bypass the software companys that would not hire me and build a contract project by myself.

Apache gave me a job, not take it away. I support these guys all the way. And im sure that the apache coders are doing alright in terms of cash flow. Useing there own stuff to deliver strait to the end user like I did with their products
Vishwa Kumba
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 27, 2003
Posts: 1064
Originally posted by Arjunkumar Shastry:
So whats wrong in that? . Reading 500 lines written by somebody else thirteen years back,,understanding why (s)he has written them only in that fashion,modifying them,adding some features and removing the bugs,Can everybody do that ?


No, not every programmmer out there could do it. I agree. There is nothing wrong with the company's preference to open source projects. But who are these people working on open source projects?. Do they work full time on open source projects?
Are they not from closed source projects?
Vishwa Kumba
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 27, 2003
Posts: 1064
Originally posted by Shawn DeSarkar:
So i used apache to bypass the software companys that would not hire me and build a contract project by myself.

Apache gave me a job, not take it away. I support these guys all the way. And im sure that the apache coders are doing alright in terms of cash flow.


You are a smart fella. I am surprised that you were jobless for some time.
Not sure how many smart guys like you are there, who could get hired this way.

Some part of me likes open source projects. It tells me that the world is an open place for everybody. People have the right to write develop open source software and do what they want with it.

On the other side, it tells me that it has lead to a loss of jobs in the market. Sales jobs, developer jobs, training jobs, support jobs, consulting jobs.....

I don't mind the poor companies using open source products as they cannot afford. But I don't feel comfortable at all, with big companies with big pockets turning to open source products to cut down costs.
Arjunkumar Shastry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 28, 2005
Posts: 986
Originally posted by Vishwa Kumba:

But who are these people working on open source projects?. Do they work full time on open source projects?

You want to know their lifestyle?Where do they live?What do they eat ?
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
I used many open source stuff like struts,tomcat, ant ..., but personally, I don't like those open source people. It is true that with open source, a programmer's life is much easier. However, the side effects are :

1) Very skilled programmers/developers are not required in a project team,
because the most difficult part is in the Open source library;
2) Skilled programmer/developers will have to do simple and easy work, which in turn means, the programmer can't get well paid;
3) A project team need less team members, cos we use 'free' open source.

These arguments will not go down well with the Director of IT. He is fighting to get a budget, fighting to justify to the Board of Directors that his department can deliver the business changes at a reasonable cost. He won't thank anyone for saying that his staff should be reinventing several wheels when he has got users grumbling that IT is not spending enough time working with them to solve business problems.


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, SCBCD 1.3
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Originally posted by Vishwa Kumba:
On the other side, it tells me that it has lead to a loss of jobs in the market. Sales jobs, developer jobs, training jobs, support jobs, consulting jobs.....


So you're saying that one cannot get paid doing any of that stuff with Linux?

Open source causes changes in jobs. My guess is that it causes a net gain, but that's just pure speculation. With the success of NetBeans and Eclipse, there are probably a lot few folks gainfully employed writing and selling Java IDEs. They're probably writing and selling software written using these IDEs.

Cheers!

Luke
peter wooster
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 13, 2004
Posts: 1033
Originally posted by Luke Kolin:

So you're saying that one cannot get paid doing any of that stuff with Linux?

Open source causes changes in jobs. My guess is that it causes a net gain, but that's just pure speculation. With the success of NetBeans and Eclipse, there are probably a lot few folks gainfully employed writing and selling Java IDEs. They're probably writing and selling software written using these IDEs.

Cheers!

Luke


There is actually lots of work documenting and supporting all the open source products since they usually don't provide this. Groups like Red Hat and JBoss seem to make plenty of money doing just that.
Kishore Dandu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 10, 2001
Posts: 1934
In my personal work experience, all the open source products I have used help get things done faster. Since they are there, I was able to get some serious problems in a system fixed sooner.

There will always be discussion about guys loosing jobs or getting less pay because of some sore of improvization.

It is a basic fact of life that we need to look at where the supply and demand equation is more tilted towards employee and move or adopt to that direction.

Spring, Hibernate, JSF, Single sign on, WS second generation anyone??


Kishore
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subject: Open Source Impact on S/W engineers