[IPython-dev] Should I still contribute to IPython ?

Zoltán Vörös zvoros at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 18:04:57 EST 2012

On 12/17/2012 11:36 PM, Aaron Meurer wrote:
> there is a mindset of, "why should I
> contribute when there is someone who is paid to do it? Surely that
> person/persons will get around to fixing the issue themselves."  I
> think the email Matthias received is indicative of this mindset.
I am not so sure that this conclusion is correct. One of the problems is 
that many projects (and IPython certainly falls into this category) have 
grown to such a complexity, that it becomes exceedingly difficult to 
understand how the code is organised. In the case of IPython, it is 
exacerbated by the fact that three programming paradigms (python, 
javascript, and the Qt toolkit) have to work together in a consistent 
way, and one cannot make a meaningful contribution without understanding 
something about how these are interconnected. On the other hand, many of 
us (namely, those who are not paid for developing IPython) do something 
else for a living, and I believe, in the question that was quoted by 
Matthias, the concern was that "outsiders" won't be able to keep up with 
the pace of the development. I really don't think that the mean mindset 
that you are trying to imply was at the core of that e-mail. It wasn't 
about money, it was about the time that core/paid developers and the 
rest of us can spend on coding.

And that brings us to your first statement:

> I remember reading about a study that said that open source projects
> that have funded developers actually get less contributions (or at
> least fewer contributors)
While this might be true, the question really is, whether the 
development of funded projects slows down (I doubt, for in that case, 
funding agencies and foundations would stop funding after a while, 
unless their purpose is to kill otherwise viable projects), or it speeds 
up, but with fewer contributors. If the second option is true, then I 
would say that the concern in the quoted question is probably not 
entirely baseless... And it would also mean that the money wasn't 
unwisely spent.


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