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Critiquing Claims of an Open Source Jobs Boom

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the join-us-now-and-free-the-software dept.

Linux Business 134

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Bill Snyder examines what appears to be an open source job market boom, as evidenced by a recent O'Reilly Report. According to the study, 5 to 15 percent of all IT openings call for open source software skills, and with overall IT job cuts expected for 2009, 'the recession may be pushing budget-strapped IT execs to examine low-cost alternatives to commercial software,' Snyder writes. But are enterprises truly shifting to open source, or are they simply seeking to augment the work of staff already steeped in proprietary software? The study's methodology leaves too much room for interpretation, Savio Rodrigues retorts. 'That's why the 5% to 15% really doesn't sit well with me,' Rodrigues writes. 'I suspect that larger companies are looking for developers with a mix of experience with proprietary and open source products, tools and frameworks,' as opposed to those who would work with open source for 90 percent of the work day."

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The cheapest code... (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 years ago | (#24325385)

...is the one you didn't have to write in the first place. Developers with some knowledge of BSD/LGPL code that could be used for rapidly creating complex apps without reinventing the wheel is probably in demand.

Re:The cheapest code... (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 6 years ago | (#24325763)

No! The cheapest code is the code that doesn't require support, maintenance, or bug fixes! Development costs are trivial compared to upkeep costs.

Re:The cheapest code... (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 6 years ago | (#24325907)

No! The cheapest code is the code that doesn't require support, maintenance, or bug fixes! Development costs are trivial compared to upkeep costs.

I'm going to sell my "hello world" code for millions! :)

Re:The cheapest code... (5, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#24326551)

I have been reliably running my hello world program since my Apple II days. With more than 30 years of field testing, extensive debugging and hardening, it's probably one of the most enterprise-ready hello world programs in existence.

Yours obviously can't compete.

Re:The cheapest code... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24327549)

I think you guys are late. Bill Gates is launching his Hello World XT application, and it comes preinstalled with all Windows and SUSE operational systems...

Re:The cheapest code... (2, Funny)

BrotherBeal (1100283) | about 6 years ago | (#24327835)

You must be the master programmer this link [infiltec.com] talks about!

Re:The cheapest code... (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 6 years ago | (#24329755)

Show me your densest, most bug-free rendition of your "hello world" code. It's possible I can beat it...

Re:The cheapest code... (1)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24330235)

Show me your densest, most bug-free rendition of your "hello world" code. It's possible I can beat it...

Go for it!

msg db 'Hello World'
mov dx, offset msg
mov ah, 9
int 21h

If you store that baby as COM file, its going to be all of a handful of bytes.

Re:The cheapest code... (1)

Two9A (866100) | about 6 years ago | (#24331367)

It's also never going to work. Execution will start at the top, with the H of Hello; I forget what that opcode translates to, but it can't be what you expected it to be.

This might work better:

main: mov dx, offset msg
            mov ah, 9
            int 21h
            int 20h
msg: db 'Hello World!',13,10,34

Sure, it's larger. But it works.

Re:The cheapest code... (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 6 years ago | (#24330491)

My last attempt at writing an app that ambitious bricked my system.

Re:The cheapest code... (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | about 6 years ago | (#24326223)

No! The cheapest code is the code that doesn't require support, maintenance, or bug fixes!

So we are in agreeance then. Open source IS better! :)

Re:The cheapest code... (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 6 years ago | (#24326791)

No! The cheapest code is the code that doesn't require support, maintenance, or bug fixes! Development costs are trivial compared to upkeep costs.

Good luck with that.

Let me know when something even close to that makes an appearance. In the meantime, people are forced to deal with support issues, maintenance issues, and bug fixes. They must deal with it either directly or indirectly (maintenance fees and/or personal to pick up the phone to get support on the other end). Either way, your counter argument simply does not exist.

Re:The cheapest code... (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | about 6 years ago | (#24331331)

Actually this is an argument for open source, although not one of the strongest. If you use popular open source software, you get many bugfixes for the open source part for free - there's no guarantee the bugfixes posted with the project update will be what you need though, but there's a good chance it is.

I am with Bjarne on this one. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24325491)

Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the C++ programming language, claims that C++ is experiencing a revival and
that there is a backlash against newer programming languages such as Java and C#. "C++ is bigger than ever.
There are more than three million C++ programmers. Everywhere I look there has been an uprising
- more and more projects are using C++. A lot of teaching was going to Java, but more are teaching C++ again.
There has been a backlash.", said Stroustrup.

He continues.. ..What would the world be like without Google?... Only C++ can allow you to create applications as powerful as MapReduce which allows them to create fast searches.

I totally agree. If Java ( or Pyhton etc. for that matter ) were fast enough why did Google choose C++ to build their insanely fast search engine. MapReduce rocks.. No Java solution can even come close.
I rest my case.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (2, Insightful)

jrcamp (150032) | about 6 years ago | (#24325643)

That's like saying since drag racing cars are the fastest cars everybody should be driving one.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (2, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about 6 years ago | (#24325749)

You're making the insanely simplistic assumption that one language is appropriate in all parts of a given application/project. Yes, obviously anything that's truly resource/speed dependent will generally require a language like C or C++ to allow you to get intimate with the lower-level aspects of the given system. Which is why just about any newer language makes it simple to create native language modules and packages allowing you to take all the advantages of a tightly coded core with the convenience of writing the majority of code in a high-level language.

I don't think there's anything truly new about that concept and I certainly don't think it's responsible for any kind of 'backlash'.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (2, Insightful)

Reverend528 (585549) | about 6 years ago | (#24325779)

C++ may be better than python/ruby/java for certain applications, but it will probably always remain in C's shadow.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24325845)

Haha, an ancient troll gets modded up to 3, Interesting, and even garners a few serious chin-stroking responses. Well done, sir.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24327453)

I was thinking the same thing. Mod +1 Funny

repeated troll... (1, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | about 6 years ago | (#24325865)

seen it a few times like here [slashdot.org]

Re:repeated troll... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24326239)

I bet it's Stroustrup himseff, cleverly disguised as an AC!

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24325905)

Good. Then all of the C++ programmers will stop claiming to know Java just because it has braces too.

Each language has it's place. Programmers from both sides should respect each other's ability. I took one C++ course. Would never claim to be a C++ programmer.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | about 6 years ago | (#24325999)

A free Java implementation of MapReduce and GFS (Apache Hadoop) already works fine on 5000 computers cluster.

And there's no real reason why it can't scale further.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24326079)

Dude, if you need a 5000 node cluster to run it and already plan on adding more nodes, I'd say that's not a very good advertisment for java. ;)

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (2, Informative)

allenw (33234) | about 6 years ago | (#24326657)

Actually...

The largest "real, in-use" Hadoop cluster that Yahoo! has is around 2000 nodes, counting a dedicated name node. As far as we're aware, we've got the largest Hadoop cluster. [If there is a bigger one, we'd love to talk to you and compare notes. :) ]

That said, we do have Hadoop running on tens of thousands of machines. Just not as one big cluster.

It is also worth pointing out, that most of our clusters are multi-user, multi-application. The number of nodes is really more indicative of the size of the Hadoop distributed file system than the number of nodes given to a particular application in our (grid team's) use case.

There is a lot more about Hadoop, and Yahoo!'s particular Hadoop usage for internal utility-type computing, at http://wiki.apache.org/hadoop/HadoopPresentations [apache.org] .

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

bill_kress (99356) | about 6 years ago | (#24326183)

If speed were your primary concern, how could you not go with assembly.

On the other hand, one little programming challenge on Cecric Beust's website was solved in a large variety of algorithms/languages and when implemented with the fastest algorithm, the C++ solution had to be compiled with high optimization (-03) to simply match Java's performance.

If you were to program OO using C++, it should always be significantly slower than Java due to the large number of tiny heap allocations/de-allocations. In order to compete, C++ programmers constantly have to consider putting every object on the Stack. Java's short-term heap performance challenges that of a C++ stack, which is MUCH better than malloc.

C++ is also unable to do many runtime optimizations that Java can do.

My last two java jobs have involved working on a frequency analyzer where Java ran the entire GUI (at 12fps on a lower power CPU) and embedded in set top boxes (all cable STB & cable DVR apps will be written in Java soon as per new standards). In both of these embedded cases (a former stronghold of c/c++ development), Java was chosen over C++ for a variety of reasons.

In the long run, the concepts behind using a VM and memory management have far more potential than C++. Every year, without even recompiling, old Java apps get faster while old C++ apps--well for the most part they get replaced with new Java apps, but c++ has pretty much gotten as fast is it will get.

Also, many languages are going away from speed concerns altogether. Ruby is so far out of the C++/Java ballpark that it's silly. Most Java stuff tends to be about 1:2 the speed of C++, almost never slower than 1:4 with Ruby you're talking like 1:100, and yet people are moving to it because speed isn't that much of a consideration any more--and yet anyone (well, anyone who doesn't have some personal stake in C++) will agree that speed is the ONLY thing C++ has going for it.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 6 years ago | (#24326399)

--and yet anyone (well, anyone who doesn't have some personal stake in C++) will agree that speed is the ONLY thing C++ has going for it.

I disagree. C++ has pointers, which Java hides from the programmer. That's the main reason I prefer C++ over Java. Well, that and the "training wheels" sensation I get whenever I work with Java.

But for most non time-critical tasks I prefer Python. It's almost too easy.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#24328089)

If speed were your primary concern, how could you not go with assembly.

With rare exceptions (like codecs), c++ is just as fast as asm, and twice as easy to maintain. Most of your gains are from algorithm choice, anyway.

If you were to program OO using C++, it should always be significantly slower than Java due to the large number of tiny heap allocations/de-allocations. In order to compete, C++ programmers constantly have to consider putting every object on the Stack.

Or maybe a C++ programmer just throws things in there as needed. No mallocs = fast memory usage.

Also, many languages are going away from speed concerns altogether. Ruby is so far out of the C++/Java ballpark that it's silly.

Dunno about that, but python allows you to replace chunks of your script with native code, so you get script dev speed and the slow parts are a native library.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24330551)

Dunno about that, but python allows you to replace chunks of your script with native code, so you get script dev speed and the slow parts are a native library.

Except python fails with the GIL. It is essentially a mutex that is locked anytime a python object is being used. Unless those bits of native code you have don't need to worry about python objects, your python code doesn't scale.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#24330983)

The way around this is to design your app such that heavy lifting, where possible, is done in native leaf nodes; most of the time, I don't really run into problems like this: stuff is either fast enough or it's obviously doing way too much work.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24329015)

If speed were your primary concern, how could you not go with assembly.

Because writing asm doesn't provide any benefits. Modern c/c++ compilers can optimize the hell out of the code which doesn't happen with asm.

If you were to program OO using C++, it should always be significantly slower than Java due to the large number of tiny heap allocations/de-allocations.

[citation needed]

C++ is also unable to do many runtime optimizations that Java can do.

This is true. But, With C++ you can control memory allocations. You can do several clever things that are not possible with java.

In order to compete, C++ programmers constantly have to consider putting every object on the Stack. Java's short-term heap performance challenges that of a C++ stack, which is MUCH better than malloc.

I have yet to see C++ code of the same algorithm that runs slower than Java code. Can you post a 1 page code sample that demonstrates this?

Also, many languages are going away from speed concerns altogether. Ruby is so far out of the C++/Java ballpark that it's silly. Most Java stuff tends to be about 1:2 the speed of C++, almost never slower than 1:4 with Ruby you're talking like 1:100, and yet people are moving to it because speed isn't that much of a consideration any more--and yet anyone (well, anyone who doesn't have some personal stake in C++) will agree that speed is the ONLY thing C++ has going for it.

C/C++ will *always* be in demand. There isn't a single language that has yet to replace C/C++ for systems programming. One reason why new programmers dont embrace C/C++ is because its hard :) I'm glad it is.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

bledri (1283728) | about 6 years ago | (#24326259)

When your main concern is speed C++ (or C for that matter) is they way to go.

From what I've heard, Goggle uses three languages in production: C++, Python and Java (not to mention all that Web 2.0 craziness on the client side.) I don't think they hired Guido van Rossum to write C++ (although he is obviously a talented C programmer.)

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | about 6 years ago | (#24326561)

I must be getting old because I remember when people bitched that C++ was dog slow compared to C. Guess that since Java has held the "slow" torch for long enough, it's time to pass it on to Python, Ruby, and all the other interpreted languages. FWIW, I like C++, but ever since Objective-C got a GC, ObjC has become my C of choice.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

abigor (540274) | about 6 years ago | (#24327911)

Python isn't interpreted. It's compiled to bytecode, like Java. You can even compile it to Java's bytecode and run it on the JVM if you want to.

Re:I am with Bjarne on this one. (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 6 years ago | (#24330587)

Guess that since Java has held the "slow" torch for long enough, it's time to pass it on to Python, Ruby, and all the other interpreted languages.

It's not Ruby that's the problem, its the Rails....

This Is True (2, Interesting)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | about 6 years ago | (#24325505)

I just got hired in Manhattan by a new company and they have all expected lots of OpenSource technology knowledge. In fact, I recently worked for Barnes & Noble and one of my victories was convincing them to dump JRun for JBoss. Eclipse is everywhere and that is free. (I use MyEclipse, though, for $30 a pop). So, this is bourne out by my experience. The fact is, proprietary software is only supported by the company. Open Source is supported by the masses. And you know which ends up being better--the masses. I remember putting a note in JRun's forums and it went unanswered for a year. Nobody uses those forums. JBoss and Hibernate are teeming with activity. Open Source is "King" (sorry Gavin).

More on the front end than the back end (3, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | about 6 years ago | (#24325557)

In job hunting, I'm seeing more Open Source skills being requested in the mixes, but they are part of a mix, and they definitely tend to be in heavier demand on the front-end web dev side than on the back-end dev side.

IT degree = waste of time (-1, Troll)

zymano (581466) | about 6 years ago | (#24325581)

Feel sorry for those folk.

All that money and time wasted on a computer science or IT degree.

   

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

siDDis (961791) | about 6 years ago | (#24325669)

Hey! I like programming, especially being paid for my doing my hobby! It's just like a soccer player, getting paid for doing what he loves. However programmers has the advantage that they can do their hobby at a professional level as long as the mind is good. Soccer players has to throw in their towel when they're in their thirties.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24325791)

Soccer players has to throw in their towel when they're in their thirties.

But a good soccer player can make enough money in 10 years to cover a lifetime of work. A good programmer has to work all of his life to make enough money to feed themselves most of the time.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

abigor (540274) | about 6 years ago | (#24325945)

I think $90,000+ a year qualifies as a bit more than feeding oneself. Do you work in the software industry?

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | about 6 years ago | (#24326007)

And the numbers are skewed somewhere... REALLY GOOD programmers I know clear about 80K. Average is about 60K. That is good, but not pro sports good.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

abigor (540274) | about 6 years ago | (#24326207)

No, but it is "feed themselves" good, right? And really good programmers make a lot more than $80K (gross), although that may depend upon where you live, I suppose. If you're a motivated contractor, you can gross $120K a year pretty easily.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (3, Insightful)

sfcat (872532) | about 6 years ago | (#24326215)

I make about 3x that working as a Java developer for an investment firm. And I can make even more as a contract dev. But that is in SF where the cost of living is very high. 60K in a rural area is probably a better salary adjusted for cost of living than I make. But 60K in the bay area is very tight and means you will either live in a dangerous area, live very cheaply, or live far away (long commute). Your choice. But if you think a programmer's salary isn't very high then either you aren't very good at programming or you have a very different idea of "making a good living" from most people. Try living on a construction worker's salary (or a junior QA person's salary) in the bay area and you might change your opinion.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

bigbird (40392) | about 6 years ago | (#24329837)

And 4x as a senior dev for an investment bank in London.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#24326487)

That's great logic if you assume that the programmer lives alone and inside a box under a bridge somewhere.

It's sh*tty logic if you consider that the programmer may need to get to his job
every morning, may need a safe clean place to live and may be paying for several
other people to do the same. That programmer probably also needs to pay for their
food too, as well as their medical care and also be able to account for possible
future emergencies that may include being downsized and unemployed for awhile.

Then there's retirement.

Yeah, if you have a "live for today" mentality and live in a cheap location and just live in a studio then mebbe $90k is a lot.

An experience tradesman can make $90k in a year.

Perhaps you've heard of this thing called inflation...

Re: IT degree = waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24326953)

Odd, I live quite decently on around that much a year (well more now but that's a separate point) and a large chunk of it goes into savings (or investments). It's actually quite easy if you're capable of not buying every shinny thing you see.

as well as their medical care

Then you're likely a shitty programmer because only those get hired by companies which don't provide insurance. If you're a contractor that's different but then you should be making more than a salaried person to make up for such things.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

abigor (540274) | about 6 years ago | (#24327979)

The median family income in the US is $48,000 a year, so clearly lots of people would do just fine with one household wage earner making $90,000. In fact, they'd be incredibly thankful for it.

I'd say it's your logic that's shitty, and you should probably examine your spending habits.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

guaigean (867316) | about 6 years ago | (#24325971)

But a crappy programmer with great promotion skills can create a startup company, hype the idea, and then sell it to an investment firm before it fails for a lifetime's wages.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24327073)

But a good soccer player can make enough money in 10 years to cover a lifetime of work.

No he can't, a great soccer player may be able to but not merely a good one. Pro sports is where the best go and there aren't that many pro sports players. There are a lot of programmers on the other hand.

I'm sure that if you're the programming equivalent of a professional sports player (best of the best, etc.) then you are making a lot more than average. You'd probably have to compare against those who make successful startups.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (1)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24330281)

A good programmer has to work all of his life to make enough money to feed themselves most of the time.

Only if you are working in Open Source. If you sell a proprietary, closed source application, you can make -bank-.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (2, Interesting)

jhfry (829244) | about 6 years ago | (#24326011)

(ITDegree || ComputerScienceDegree) Programmer

An IT degree can be any number of things... program management, Quality Assurance, etc. And Computer Science isn't programming either... it's really applied mathmathmatics and logic. My IT degree focused on Program Managment, and I have never used it because I'm not in software, but there are tons of well paying positions for software lifecycle management and similar jobs.

I agree that it's a waste of time to teach business programming anymore... those who are good at it will pursue it on the side anyway... but most schools don't go much deeper than basic logic and structure now anyways. CS majors look at things differently, many are into robotics, embedded systems, and places where one must work in low level languages or where the applications are extremely complex and not easy to outsource.

Finally, the only reason either of these jobs have lost their prestiege is that so many people who have no business in the field said "I like computers" to their college advisors... a person who truely knows, loves, and understands computers and programming will not hurt for work. It just takes patience to wait while employers weed out all of the mediocrity.

Re: IT degree = waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24327147)

WTF is mathmathmatics? Is the like developersDevelopersDEVELOPERS?

Duh? (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#24325587)

Companies want people who have open source experience - both use and contribution.

They want to use these people to implement open source projects that fit their needs, for free (beer).

They do not want these people because they love free (open) software.

Re:Duh? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 6 years ago | (#24326965)

"They want to use these people to implement open source projects that fit their needs, for free (beer)."

That's intriguing. Are you saying they won't pay the wages for those people?

Many businesses are open-source based accidentally (4, Informative)

hattig (47930) | about 6 years ago | (#24325591)

Given that Java is now GPL and open-source, and lots of the popular third-party Java frameworks are also open-source, I would expect that open-source is really hot in many businesses - just that they don't know it.

When your developers code an interface to XYZ in a short time, it's not because they're reimplementing the wheel. No, they're using Axis. Or HttpClient. With hibernate, spring, struts, tiles, and so on.

But if we look at databases, you'll see a large investment in proprietary systems still, for core business data, with MySQL running minor functionality around the outside. Cutbacks simply mean that upgrading your database platform won't happen, it's already paid for, why migrate from Oracle to Postgresql!

The other big platform is MS proprietary. You all know the story. It keeps TheDailyWTF alive.

As a 17 year IT consultant... (5, Insightful)

infinite9 (319274) | about 6 years ago | (#24325627)

I've seen a lot of shops. And a lot of them like open source for one reason... it's cheap. Not because they're cheap bastards, but because free software often can circumvent the corporate BS associated with spending money.

Once a place has used some open source software, they tend to keep using it. And they tend to want to hire people who know how to use what they have. I wouldn't call it an open source hiring boom. I'd just call it acceptance.

Re:As a 17 year IT consultant... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24325807)

I'll agree to that. I'm currently using SharpDevelop because the owner doesn't want me programming (I'm in "QA") and I need tools that the developers don't have time to write. So, I get SharpDevelop (and Tcl/TK) to write my own tools as I need them.

Of course, the rest of the company uses Microsoft products, but when I need something quick and I don't want to bother with expense reports, OpenOffice goes on the test machines to open the word docs as needed, and other free and/or open source tools get used. Partimage Is Not Ghost, Copy Handler, GIMP, notepad++, 7-zip, and Foxit Reader are just a few of the products I use to fly under the radar with tools I need/like to use. Of course, this was posted while using Firefox, but Opera is good too.

/posted anon to avoid losing used modpoints

Re:As a 17 year IT consultant... (3, Interesting)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#24325923)

That brings up a study I'd really like to see done: What is the correlation (positive or negative), if any, between prevalence of Open Source in a shop and the salaries they offer? Do most of them use open source so they can spend more on quality people, or do they do it because they're cheap and don't want to spend money on anything, people included?

I don't have enough data in my personal work history to make an intelligent guess, although the size of the company involved may have a lot to do with the answer. However, I think it would be valuable information to have. After all, specializing in a given technology because you hear there are lots of jobs asking for it is not a wise move if all of those jobs max out at 8 bucks an hour (exaggeration to illustrate the point, not what I really think Open Source admins make).

Re:As a 17 year IT consultant... (4, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 6 years ago | (#24326113)

I use open source solutions often at my work, and its not because of the cost. (I don't mind paying for the right tool for the job) It has much more to do with the tracking.. If I go purchase SQL server and windows server, I have to keep track of licenses, versions, (are they enterprise, standard, etc) Are they CAL based, and do I have enough CAL's a few months later, are they processor based (and if so, did I move the app to a server with more processors). With virtualization, its an even bigger push for me, as its very, very easy to quickly deploy a new virtual OS. It takes much, much longer to ensure licensing compliance, and go through the approval and purchasing process if needed..

Re:As a 17 year IT consultant... (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 6 years ago | (#24326263)

Free software often can circumvent the corporate BS associated with spending money.

And the BS involving legal/licensing (6 week minimum in my company). And the BS involving layers upon layers of business cases and needs analysis. If the commercial world could standardize some of this (the license agreement broilerplate, for instance), they could better compete against open source...

Gotta give it to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24326333)

Not too many IT consultants are 17...

WHAT? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24325747)

What? They are now open sourcing Steve Jobs and then making him go BOOM!?!?!?!?

Re:WHAT? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 6 years ago | (#24325919)

What? They are now open sourcing Steve Jobs and then making him go BOOM!?!?!?!?

No, he does that all on his own. [youtube.com]

Re:WHAT? (1)

CaptSaltyJack (1275472) | about 6 years ago | (#24325925)

Ah crap, you beat me to it, I see. ;) Well-played..

Well, good for Apple (1)

CaptSaltyJack (1275472) | about 6 years ago | (#24325783)

I'm glad Steve Jobs finally decided to open source everything. Boom!

Do we care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24325859)

For gods sake, do we even care on all this analysts' crap?
We do our jobs, and we try to get away with the best and cheapest version of the solution.

If it's Open Source, so be it. But bosses are increasingly interested in sustainability which means that access to the source will help you in that regard.

Ummm... Yah (1, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24325869)

Of course jobs are going to increase in open source areas. Right now, the software industry is in a period of change from 100% proprietary code to now about 25% proprietary and 75% OSS. The thing though is, for any small company, making a general purpose program is nearly impossible. If it is a proprietary system, it gets 0 marketshare due to monopolies in every single program genre. If it is OSS, it may have great marketshare, but won't make any money because your company is too small to give support. Once we find a good balance, we will see another major software boom comparable to the '90s one. But until then, we will see either failing closed-source companies, or open source companies that have yet to see a profit.

Re:Ummm... Yah (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 6 years ago | (#24330629)

Right now, the software industry is in a period of change from 100% proprietary code to now about 25% proprietary and 75% OSS.

You meant to say 20% proprietary and 80% OSS right?

Me too... (3, Insightful)

iamhigh (1252742) | about 6 years ago | (#24325941)

Looking at sysadmin jobs, I also see things that want Cisco, RedHat/Some *nix, MS AD, some sort of DB, this ERP app, that specific app, Citrix, scripting, programming, web development, website hosting, blah, blah, blah... Those that have a salary range, are in 55-60K

I think HR just throws all in the listing... get as many applicants as possible, sort it out later.

Re:Me too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24328477)

You forgot the ability to perform miracles. The employers are trying get as much as they can for as little as they can. This includes "Human Resources".

Startup = Open Source Only! (0)

pafein (2979) | about 6 years ago | (#24325947)

As the CTO at a 4 year old startup, we're only interested in people who have open source experience. In fact, we've rejected people from consideration because their programming background was mostly with closed source platforms.

We use OSS for all of the usual reasons - cost, quality, support, access to code. We want to hire people who know how to operate in that environment - someone's who's first instinct when they need to solve a problem is to check the Ubuntu repos or look on Python's Cheeseshop, not call a vendor.

Re:Startup = Open Source Only! (2, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | about 6 years ago | (#24326441)

So the assumption is that someone who has worked with proprietary technologies is incapable of working with OSS technologies? Because I'd say thats pretty much completely contrary to my experience.

I work with propriety technology ATM. Didn't stop me from opting for CruiseControl.Net and NAnt over the proprietary build systems that were vying for our business. There are plenty of technologies we're using that I'd switch to OSS alternatives in a heartbeat (goddamn ClearCase...). Yeah, some of my coworkers have drunk vendor kool-aid, but plenty others are open to the OSS side of things too.

I would say that putting that kind of arbitrary restriction on your hiring process may be cutting you off from some valid talent. That is unless you're looking for someone religious about it, then I guess it would be perfectly valid. Just some food for thought though.

Re:Startup = Open Source Only! (2, Interesting)

turbidostato (878842) | about 6 years ago | (#24327157)

"So the assumption is that someone who has worked with proprietary technologies is incapable of working with OSS technologies?"

I don't think so.

I think the parent poster is more on the line that if the candidate has not experience on the open source world, its ability to manage it is still to be seen. If there're candidates that won't have such uncertainty it's just reasonable to stick with them.

"Because I'd say thats pretty much completely contrary to my experience."

That's your experience. Mine is that even at the code monkey level there's people that just don't grasp the open source "thingie" as there is people that is heavily uncomfortable using closed source software.

"I would say that putting that kind of arbitrary restriction on your hiring process may be cutting you off from some valid talent."

Quite true, the point being "arbitrary". It's arbitrary to only hire blond people for a java developer position; it's not arbitrary to hire someone SQL fluent for a DBA, and I don't think it's arbitrary to hire people with open source experience on a shop pushing open source "philosophy" (it *might* be arbitrary to push "the open source philosohpy", though, but that's out of scope).

budgets (1)

br00tus (528477) | about 6 years ago | (#24325961)

We might like free software because it is free as in speech, but most companies tend to like it because it is free as in beer. Except for our Oracle databases and a few legacy systems in the process of being migrated, all of our systems have been migrated from Solaris to Red Hat. We are mostly on Jboss, with our proprietary Java application servers being legacy ones being migrated off of. We are mostly migrated from Vignette to Alfresco.

.
Tight budgets are the time when management is more willing to "take a chance" on an x86-64 Red Hat server over a more expensive Sun server. Or a free software application, with support from a company like MySQL, JBoss etc. rather than Oracle, or one of the many java app. server products. Management has been happy with the changes thusfar.

Re:budgets (2, Interesting)

Rycross (836649) | about 6 years ago | (#24326495)

Depends on how you spin it. We use CruiseControl.Net where I work. When I had to justify it as opposed to a "superior" (not really superior technologically, but in a "we're paying for it so it must be better" sense) proprietary technology, I pointed out that since I have access to the source code I can debug issues with our build system without needing vendor support. And I have several times. Of course, people like the cost, but managers also understand "we don't have to depend on a single source if things go to hell." Well, some of them do.

Re:budgets (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 6 years ago | (#24327275)

"We might like free software because it is free as in speech, but most companies tend to like it because it is free as in beer."

And that's surprising... how? Companies are basically about money, so I can't find suprising that the word "money" appears on each and every company backed-up argument. Not necesarily to say "less" money, but money will be on it.

So you will find arguments like these:
* It costs a lot of *money* so it must be good
* We are tight on *money* so this solution looks apropiate
* It seems more *money* using this very popular but privative operative system, but we will recover it because wages for technical personnel will be lower due to its popularity
* I don't have to expend six months to get approved the *money* for that open source app, so it's good.
* We save *money* because we can go with best bidder for the support of this open source app.
* We save *money* bacause we have an all-encompassing support contract from this important vendor
* We don't risk *money* using this software because we can sue the offering company
* We don't risk *money* because since it's open source we are not opened to a vendor lock-in strategy
* Etc.

Dead on. (2, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 6 years ago | (#24326023)

I think the article is dead on in questioning the study.

Perfect example: the last two places I contracted at were looking to hire C# developers who had also been exposed to Subversion. Is it fair to look at a place like that and say they're now all about Open Source? Not really, no.

Open Source is getting somewhere in the business world to be sure, but the FOSS Rapture isn't quite upon us just yet.

It Doesn't Cost Less (5, Interesting)

Kookus (653170) | about 6 years ago | (#24326121)

Open source software is actually costing my institution more than a closed source alternative. The drive for moving to open source software is more about being able to maintain a solution, and customize it to exactly what the requirements are.

Another fun thing we are experiencing is the total lack of knowledge closed source solution professionals have. We're finding the people to be very silo'ed without knowledge of what goes on around them. So when you are trying to implement something, you get very concerned with cross-technical area issues.

You ask an SAP basis person to come look at a screen and they'll say "Not Functional..." and wave their hands wildly with their palms facing you. Ask the Abaper and they'll shrug without a clue.

Hell, the Abaper is supposed to be a programmer you think, but they can't even teach you the basic parts of a program; you'll be lucky enough if they even know how to do proper error handling.

You see these types of people and they frighten the crap out of you. You just stare out the window and wonder why people are willing to pay 80 or 100 dollars an hour for these.... idiots!

I can go out into a University, pay a fresh graduate 40 dollars an hour and teach them everything they need to know... knowing that they'll leave after the project and still be better off than getting consultants.

Compare that with a professional in open source technologies. They need to know how things work together, because that's all they do. They can't learn just 1 technology, they need to know multiples, and how to fit them together. As they grow in their career, they know the big picture, and that is completely different than the closed source alternative.

Secret (1)

codepunk (167897) | about 6 years ago | (#24326133)

Shhhhhhhhh....lets just keep that a secret shall we!

So this means (1)

T3Tech (1306739) | about 6 years ago | (#24326265)

Open source developers won't actually be able to profit from companies spending less by switching from proprietary software?

Its not enterprises (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#24326421)

well, at least not big, corporate enterprises. i believe the main thrust for this change is coming from small to medium businesses, then individuals. at least, its what im experiencing in my job.

a number of bigger enterprises (that are smaller than google, but bigger than avg joe inc medium business) are probably switching to open source due to costs and security as well, probably.

but the main drive to get one's business to internet is causing huge boost for ecommerce site production and maintenance, like oscommerce. even though its not a perfect piece of code, its very widely used, and curiously, loved.

We're ditching proprietary for open source (1)

KlomDark (6370) | about 6 years ago | (#24326519)

The company I work for has a huge monolith of code all done in C#/ASP.NET. We are currently in the process of scrapping it all to go Java and Ruby on Rails.

Seems like a huge expenditure for little gain, but I guess I'll wait to see what it looks like on the other side. At least I'll have experience with both when this is over. I've got lots of open source administration experience, but little open source programming experience. I'm too spoiled with the Visual Studio training wheels. It's going to be tough to go to a shittier IDE.

Netbeans FTW (1)

jasonmanley (921037) | about 6 years ago | (#24328377)

Dude try Netbeans you will not regret it!

5-15%? (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 6 years ago | (#24327151)

I guess I must live in an open source town. I can't remember a job posting in IT that didn't require a background in some sort of open source software. The only popular closed-source programming language is .NET, and even most of those projects seem to use things like nHibernate and nUnit.

Most sites and most jobs are not "Enterprise"!! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#24327209)

Who cares what the "enterprise-level" companies are doing? I mean, yes they are a significant part of the job market but hardly all. Just as with most other types of business, most coding and site jobs are for smaller companies.

Mr Rodrigues doesn't know what he's talking about. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | about 6 years ago | (#24327211)

The tendency in big enterprises is for ultra specialization, the reason being simple: that way people become interchangeable (or so they think, people are not machines after all).

Small and medium companies yes, for sure, you want somebody that is more of a Jack of all trades.

told you so (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 6 years ago | (#24327223)

From the summary:

'That's why the 5% to 15% really doesn't sit well with me,' Rodrigues writes. 'I suspect that larger companies are looking for developers with a mix of experience with proprietary and open source products, tools and frameworks,' as opposed to those who would work with open source for 90 percent of the work day.

So people with a mix of skill sets are considered valuable by employers, eh? And yet, in this post [slashdot.org] , where I advocated requiring IT staff to rotate in their job functions and learn Linux, Windows, Cisco, etc. etc. etc, people jumped down my throat saying "that's too hard" or "geeks won't like that".

Interesting.

Re:told you so (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#24328405)

That's because you just don't get it: having different skills for similar roles is far different than rotating through different roles. That's as stupid as the japanese habit of rotating people through engineering, AP, and PR.

Re:told you so (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 6 years ago | (#24328813)

Oh please, engineering, accounting, and PR are completely different career fields. Linux, Windows, and Cisco aren't, and any decent sysadmin should be able to switch back and forth between those skill sets with relative ease.

Re:told you so (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#24329185)

Network, AD, and system support are very different specialties. Are you saying that the Cisco guy should cross train with the DBA on AD?

Re:told you so (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 6 years ago | (#24329457)

So you've never worked in a shop where one or two guys did all of that? Seriously? In my professional life, I've been (at various times) the dba (Oracle, Informix, MySQL), the sysadmin, the sysengineer, the Windows guy, the Linux guy, the Solaris guy, the AIX guy, the mail guy (Qmail, Sendmail, Exim, Exchange, various anti-spam systems), the mainframe guy, the network guy (3COM, Cisco, Foundry), and the programmer (Python, C, Java, Perl, SQL). Not to mention all the times when I've worn the project manager hat, and the times when I've managed teams of admins and programmers.

None of those skills are orthogonal to each other, you can learn them all, and you can be good at them all, and excellent at (at least) several.

Re:told you so (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#24329603)

If you're in a position where there are separate roles for DBA, AD, etc, then you can be better at each if you stick to one. Sure, you can do all of them, but it's less efficient. If I were in a small startup, sure, I'd do DBA (and software dev too), but I'm not, and i'm more productive for it.

Open source is not a certificate but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24327427)

Having the skills to work on a high profile open source project tells something about your skills. This rule might not hold 100% of the time, but engineers that work in these high profile projects tend to be very good engineers.

Sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24327691)

How are "Open Source" software skills different from other software skills? Last time I checked, everyone was writing in the same computer languages as everyone else. :P

Job Posts (1)

skyggen (888902) | about 6 years ago | (#24328213)

As the IT manager of a medium sized company All the developer posts I write include as one of the questions Emacs or Vi? Why are we going open source? - Moving all applications to be web based - Why? Man are we ever sick of worrying about whether that last patch is going to break all of our software. - Some of our software will not run on Vista (Damn you small specific vendors) - Tired of paying money for a Monstrous workstation when all they really need is a web browser and email. - Tired of re-imaging (yeah fuck fixing or protecting windows) desktops because some CSR decided their dead grandma was sending them porno links from the great beyond. - Tired of being tied in and locked out of our software. - No one can customize software for your business like yourself. - And last but not least. I'm the FUCKING manager and I use Linux. Actually my whole IT department uses either Linux or OSX.

Breakdown (1)

jasonmanley (921037) | about 6 years ago | (#24328343)

Care to give us a breakdown of your setup i.e.
What version of Linux are you using on the desktop?
What technology stack are you using for your solutions? Python/php/Java/Apache/MySQL
What IDE / Toolset are your developers using?

That sort of thing ...

Hedging their bets (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 6 years ago | (#24329969)

A 5 to 15 percent figure for open source skills doesn't necessarily mean 5 to 15 percent of the projects will be open source. More likely, IT managers are getting smart, keeping their options open and making sure that they have a back door out of the lock in trap. A broader range of experience is also a sign of someone with a better background in CS rather than a one language/one tool technician.

This sounds like a smart tactic. In fact, I'm surprised that the figure isn't higher. And I'm particularly happy that the proprietary platform fanbois are getting their panties in a bunch over only 15 percent.

Open source is code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24331165)

The "open source" in a job posting says more about a company and its culture than free meals, foosball tables or casual attire ever did.

Open source software skills (1)

weicco (645927) | about 6 years ago | (#24331381)

What on earth is open source software skill?

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