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For the love of open source: Why developers work on Linux and open-source software
A new survey conducted by The Linux Foundation's Open Source Security Foundation (OSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) reveals that while open-source jobs are in high demand and the pay is great, it's not money that drives programmers to work on Open Source, but the love of solving problems and creation. The survey also reveals a worrisome trend: security is being neglected in open-source development.
The myth of the open-source developer is they're unemployed young men coding away in basements. The truth is different. The Linux Foundation's Open Source Security Foundation (OSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) new survey, Report on the 2020 FOSS Contributor Survey, found a significant number of women developers, with the plurality of programmers in their 30s, and the majority are working full-time jobs with an annual average pay rate of $123,000.
Of those surveyed, over half surveyed reported they receive payment for free and open-source software (FOSS) contributions -- from either their employer or a third party. More than half of those surveyed, 51.65%, are specifically paid to develop open-source programs.
That said, while open-source jobs are in high demand and the pay is great, it's not money that brings programmers to open-source. Indeed, even those people paid for working on a FOSS project also contributed to other open-source programs without being compensated.