The answer to that question may seem like a bit of a

no-brainer but apparently not.  A group

of developers known as Dunc-Tank is about

to pay selected Debian developers in order to ensure that the upcoming release

of Debian is on schedule.  The move has

opened up quite  a bit of debate on the

question of what happened when developers who were previously working for free

suddenly receive pay for the same work.  There

is one school of thought following the idea that volunteer numbers and

motivation will be reduced because they are no longer doing the work as a

gesture of goodwill or charity.  On the

other side of the argument Raphaël Hertzog and Ted Ts’o (prominent members of

the Debian project) believe that despite potential drawbacks they believe that

many developers will be motivated by the more speedy evolution.  Ts’o also cites the core kernel development as

a positive example saying “I would note that most of the core kernel developers

have made the transition from volunteer to paid work, and I can’t say that I’ve

seen any negative efforts within the Linux kernel community as a result of that


A full analysis of this experiment and what it may mean for

the future of open source development can be checked out – can

paid and volunteer developers work harmoniously side by side?