Subject: Re: Open source vs. Closed Source salaries?
From: Chris Rasch <>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 13:28:28 -0700

Frank Hecker wrote:

> Chris Rasch wrote:
> > How do the salaries of open source software developers compare to the
> > salaries of closed source developers?
> I think this depends more upon the type of organization the programmer
> is working for than on the type of software being developed. For
> example, I'm sure that developers working at Netscape on the Mozilla
> software are paid the same as they were when the Mozilla code was
> proprietary.
> I suspect the relevant differences are rather between for-profit
> organizations and non-profit organizations (including academia), between
> IT vendors developing software for external distribution and use and
> non-IT companies developing software for internal use only, and between
> companies in different vertical markets and geographic areas.

Thanks for your response.  I agree with what you're saying.  I was
motivated to ask the question by Stig Hackvan's January 1999 Linuxworld
article, Where did Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis go? (Available at  It's an
interview with the creators of the GIMP, neither of whom now work on open
source software.

Hackvan suggests that talented programmers leave the open source community
because there are more well paying jobs in the closed source world than in
the open source community.  To what extent do you think this happens?  The
Datamation survey suggests that there are plenty of well-paying jobs for
those skilled using open source tools.

Perhaps a more relevant question might be--how often do developers of open
source software (as opposed to individuals who use the software) leave the
open source community?