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Jack Woehr

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Motivation -- an opensourcer's tale

March 03, 2009

Today was a day that contained one of what cartoonist Keith Knight calls "Life's Little Victories".

  Keith Knight cartoon, used with permission


"Why do you write opensource?" an enterprise systems programmer pal asked me today.

We had been debugging PigIron , or so we thought. The problem turned out to be on the other end. Score!

My pal is down at SHARE in Austin right now listening to announcements of new technology like an x/86 or PPC external processor plugged into the IBM z-class mainframe backplane like they did already with the AS/400 in, what, 1996? Time flows like molasses in the mainframe world, a world which sometimes seems like Tolkien's Land of Lorien where aging and decay are magically held back, and at other times seems like a very small town in rural Utah.

There is an answer to his question, why I write open source. At this point in my career I have roughly two (2) choices:

  1. I can sit somewhere in corporate America eating you-know-what sandwiches in return for health insurance.
  2. Or I can sit on my duff and rack up consulting hours based on the sheer brazenness of thumbing my nose at the norm and writing great software because I've nothing else to do.

"Boredom. Like Stupidity, it's a very powerful motivating force."

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