Make money from free code

The Open Source Developers conference began Wednesday morning at Monash University in Melbourne.

The Open Source Developers conference began Wednesday morning at Monash University in Melbourne.

Attendees were treated to an opening keynote discussing the various ways that one can contribute to open source and make money from it by well known Perl book author Randall Schwartz.

Schwartz showed instances of how he had made a living off developing free software - by turning magazine articles into documentation and by doing "compromise" projects where some of the project code was made open and some was kept proprietary. A case of doing what you need to pay the bills while also contributing to free software.

Many times Schwartz showed how people can contribute and influence a free software project without intimate knowledge of the codebase. Schwartz showed the audience how to submit documentation (even doc patches), report bugs and if possible bug fixes, running a test harnesses, making a monetary contribution or to answer questions on forums, usenet, irc or email.

Once the keynote was complete, the program split into three strands with most of the focus being divided between Perl, Python, and PHP.

If one thing is clear from the opening sessions it is the importance of community to the open source development model. Time and again, the importance is being reinforced by presenters and also by talking to attendees. Conferences such as this one give the members of a normally disparate community a chance to get together and discuss things face-to-face as well as being able to meet the people behind the code.

OSDC has over 180 people registered, many of whom are experts in their respective fields. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days and exclusive interviews.

By Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...