If you thought that most open source developers work for open source companies, you might well be wrong. According to a survey from open source services vendor OpenLogic, 50 percent of its respondents actually work for a proprietary vendor.
The OpenLogic study aims to put into focus why people contribute to open source in the first place and though money is an issue it's not the only issue.
The OpenLogic study was carried out by polling members of the OpenLogic expert community, which is a group of individuals that provides support and commercial assistance on open source technologies to OpenLogic customers.
Only 6 percent of study respondents identified themselves as working for an open source company. The rest of the survey's participants were consultants or working in businesses outside of software.
Stormy Peters, director of community and partner programs at OpenLogic, explained that many open source developers keep their open source work separate from their paid work. She had initially thought that every open source developer's dream was to get paid for working on open source software, but that's not necessarily reality, she said.
"I think there are a lot of myths about how open source developers feel about working for proprietary software vendors and how people can make money from working on open source software," Peters told InternetNews.com. "I hope that by putting the numbers out there we can get the conversation started, and people will realize there are more opportunities."
In addition, the study revealed that 50 percent of the open source projects developers were working on did not have commercial vendors behind them. To go a step further, OpenLogic asked the question, "Do you think every open source software will have a commercial company associated with it as it becomes more widely used?" 84 percent of respondents said no.
Peters commented that she believes the 84 percent figure is a vote of confidence in the open source software model. That the model exists because people will work on open source software for their own reasons that doesn't always have to be about making money.