Recently Karen Lopez pointed out something rather obvious in the Microsoft SQL Server Community. We’re cheapskates.
Weirdness of SQL community. Everything should be free, speakers should lose money, sponsors shouldn't contact. twitter.com/YetAnotherSQL/…—
Karen Lopez (@datachick) April 25, 2016
I don’t want to talk about training though. I want to talk about software. We don’t like paying for it ourselves. I think that’s kind of weird and bad.
In 2013, I purchased but didn’t renew an MSDN license. That’s about a grand. Over the years, I’ve given a lot of money to JetBrains for their .NET tools. Thanks to their new subscription model I only have to pay them $199 a year for all their tools. This is actually great news since I work in multiple languages these days. I also bought Zend Studio, a PHP IDE because I had to conduct corporate training with it.
Now, I am a contractor, so I don’t have a full time employer to buy me things. However, other than my current JetBrains subscription and Zend Studio, that’s all software I bought myself while a W-2 Employee working for someone else. The MSDN license was to work on open source software at home on my personal machine. While community edition makes this unnecessary now, I literally paid money for tools I used for work I did for free. While that seems crazy because it’s software, no one things its crazy that I bought a set of torx wrenches to replace the engine in my drill, which I use for personal projects around the house.
In addition, I’ve made various donations to OSS software over the years. Some projects I’ve donated money to include:
- One of the VNCs, I think TightVNC
- NeoOffice, a Mac specific OpenOffice port that is apparently no longer OSS.
- OpenBSD CDs
Now I understand everyone has different expenses and different life situations. However, one should consider these are the tools of our trade. The double edged sword about software development is that it is an unregulated and unlicensed field. This great for self-starters and those lacking formal education like myself. On the other hand, you usually have to do your own training on your own time because your employer often won’t. You don’t want to use your work laptop for that.
In addition many Open Source tools are often worked on by people for free. Donations rarely bring an income anywhere near what we can make through employment or contracting but, donations do help. They keep us happy, and sometimes let us pay for hard costs like the license to a profiling tool or hosting. Also, donations inspire us to fix your bugs.
What are your feelings on paying for licenses out of personal funds and donating to OSS? Share in the comments.