Jan 022009

As a contributor to Maxima, I occasionally receive requests from students to fill out surveys. I got one today, and after completing it, felt obliged to add the following comment, which really applies to most such surveys that I’ve seen:

You seem to be concentrating on things like prestige, reputation, stuff like that that I have no interest in and certainly play no role in my decision to work on an open source project. Simply put, the projects I work on I work on because of what they DO, not because they are open source or not. It’s not a self-serving activity… I no more think of it as “programming” as I think, say, of repairing my computer as “screwdrivering”. Programming (or using a screwdriver) is not the goal, but the means to reach a goal.

I work on Maxima because I need it for my research, because its tensor algebra packages were broken and I was able to repair and maintain them, because I need the result, because by participating I can help ensure that the package remains reliable and useful… what others think of me is irrelevant. I left your last question (ranking roles by prestige) unanswered for this reason… you might as well have asked me to rank them by color.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm