Subject: Re: Open source vs. Closed Source salaries?
From: Frank Hecker <>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 11:07:10 -0500

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

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.

Thus, for example, I'd suspect that a programmer working on libre
software at a university in the US midwest would be paid significantly
less than a programmer working on the same software at a Wall Street
financial services company. (Of course, there may be fewer such jobs
available at financial services firms than at universities, but that's
simply because such software hasn't yet penetrated as deeply into banks,
brokerages, etc., as it has into universities.)

> According to this Datamation survey, as of June, 2000 the average open
> source developer earns 80,850/year and contracts out at  $74.00/hour:

The survey quotes only averages; it would be more interesting and useful
if it quoted other values as well, including high, low, median, and
standard deviation. IMO this would give a much better picture of how
salaries varied depending on the factors I mentioned above.

Frank Hecker            work:        home: