Mar 28, 2008

Why Engineering and FOSS is Satisfying

I recently came across the post; why student programmers rant about business students with ideas. Putting my ideological belief in FOSS aside, I think it eloquently describes why I chose to return and pursue a PhD after a year spent studying engineering management (like an MBA - for those North American folks).

I also think it is highly applicable to FOSS. Many successful FOSS projects are born from engineers, the 'decision to execute' has already been made. As the article mentions, 'leadership and the ability to make decisions _is _valuable, but only in groups with realizable ability to execute'. As a FOSS project evolves, the (normal?) combination of a BFDL and the constant freedom to fork keep the project relatively free of the ownership style disputes described in the post.

In reading the post and its comments, its also refreshing to see a discussion on the internet so free of rudeness.

[1] The terms engineer and programmer can be used interchangeably, in this context. They are both highly skilled, creative professions, commonly only recognized as such by their respective peers. [2] Im obviously not so naive as to rule out the influence of money on all of this. I just consider it a baseline, and a gross generalization, that monetary incentives are less important to creative professions than to those who pursue an MBA.