Where do real programmers work?

I came across Joel Spokely’s assertion that “… the most satisfying careers, if you’re a software developer, are at actual software companies.” Something here didn’t sound quite right. “What about Open Source Software?” I thought. Then I saw POSSE: Portland Open Source Software Entrepreneurs (POSSE) is a local organization of entrepreneurs who rely on and develop OSS to help businesses succeed. See, there’s this whole other group of programmers besides the money-and-fame rock stars that Joel is talking about. Sure, they’re awesome developers and they’re excited about what they do. But people who work on Free Software are doing amazing things, too. Usually, it has been in their free time, often for their own use, so it doesn’t have the spit-and-polish that commercial software has. Even that is changing, though. Things like Beagle, Firefox and Ubuntu Linux show us that even Free Software has the power to be “remarkable software.” The sort of stuff the Joel says you need rock stars for.

One thought on “Where do real programmers work?”

  1. yeah

    This is nathan…from HPM. I agree. Joel (as well as Paul Graham) have a limited view of software and what it means to be a programmer. They think that their particular experiences somehow out weigh the evidence that a lot of other programmers have. That is, there are rewarding careers to be had in other places besides software companies. Frankly, I work at a place that develops IP, and I would just as soon work at a mom-and-pop place that wanted me to implement OSS and hack out some stuff for in house use. Churning out IP for a company tends to take some of the fun out of programming ( not all mind you, I like what I do ). So I would take Joel and Paul Graham with a grain of salt. They are the epitome of J. Anecdotal Evidence.

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