I did a very unscientific twtpoll recently regarding what brought each of us into open source. Plenty of people took the time to vote or retweet, so I thought I'd loop back around and let you know how it looked overall when the poll closed.
Original poll: http://twtpoll.com/into-open-source
40% Fixed Upstream
If there is a "right way" to come in to open source, then surely this is it. So many people answered to say that their first brush with open source projects was that they spotted a problem somewhere in a tool they were using, and offered a fix. Open source is the combined effort of countless humans doing exactly this, and I was pleased and encouraged to find this as the biggest chunk of responders.
21% Open Sourced Their Own Code
This second place option caught me a little off guard; I find that I actually have mixed feelings on this one. Certainly in PHP, we have a history of doing the same work over and over and over and over and over again. There was an attitude of: If it isn't native to my framework, then I'm building it myself.
I think this attitude is very much in the past of PHP now; our tools creators are really smart about separating out the reusable components of what they build, and they and everyone from framework creators to userland people are much smarter about building what's already out there. I hope this trend continues and we can all focus on the same really excellent solution to a specific problem rather than there being twenty less-good but competing options.
Which sounds like I just said that nobody should innovate - and there you found my mixed feelings :) If nobody ever started a new project, where would we be??
18% Were Seeking New Skills
This entry was a wonderful surprise. My own career growth has been almost entirely powered by the needs of open source - and that's my soft skills as well as very advanced and specific technical expertise. I've been preaching that open source is a great place to learn the skills you need in your day job - and maybe the skills you need in your nextHow About You?
Do these ring true for you? Or do you have another story to tell? I love to hear all the different stories, so if you'd like to share, that would be fabulous. Leave a comment below!