As we all know, the problem with Free Software is that it is free.
Sure, Free Software is liberated, so that we can study it and share it
and improve it. And sure, Free Software is accessible, so that people
all over the world can take advantage of it regardless of their status
and income level. Free Software is a great deal for those of us who
consume it. But for twenty-odd years now, we have been struggling with
the question of how anybody makes money in a world where you take the
product of millions of hours of labour and gives it away for no money.
Those of you with good memories will remember a presentation from June 2008,
when Khalid Baheyeldin revealed his secret strategies for making big bucks in
the Free Software world. This month Khalid is back, and he's brought a posse.
This month's KWLUG presentation will take the form of (our first? first in a
while?) panel discussion on the topic of "Making a Living in FLOSS". Our
panellists work in a range of fields and have a range of backgrounds:
- The aforementioned Khalid Baheyeldin is an immigrant originally from
Egypt. He runs a Drupal consultancy called 2bits.com that focuses on
Drupal development and optimization.
- Andrew Berry also works in Drupal, but for a larger firm called
Lullabot. He worked on Drupal sites instead of his schoolwork, and
look where it got him.
- Fernando Duran is decidedly not a Drupal developer -- he works in
the field of computer and network security, for tech startup
I Think Security. He also immigrated to Canada, this time via Spain.
- Joe Wennechuk works for PryLynx Corporation, a company that works
with the OSCAR open source medical records system. He started his
career doing factory work, and transitioned to the IT field a few
- Andrew Cant is a software developer who currently works for SugarCRM.
- Khalid Baheyeldin, who has 25 years of software development experience and has been working with the Drupal content management system since 2003. Khalid is the founder of 2bits, which focuses on Drupal development and site optimization.
- Andrew Berry, who is also a Drupal developer. Andrew has worked as a freelance Drupal consultant, and is now employed by Lullabot.
- Fernando Duran, who has over 15 years experience in the field of network and computer security. Fernando currently works for I Think Security, based in Waterloo.
- Joe Wennechuk, who started his career as a factory worker and transitioned to the world of IT and then to FLOSS. Joe currently works with the FLOSS Electronic Medical Records system OSCAR EMR at PryLynx Corporation.
- Andrew Cant, a software developer who works for SugarCRM, a company that develops open source customer relationship management software.
The panellists will their jobs in relation to Free Software, their
career paths, and their prospects on the FLOSS job market now and in
the future. Bring your questions.
This panel discussion might be of interest to those looking to get
jobs in the IT field, those transitioning to Canadian employment from
other countries, those of us curious about how people actually make
money doing that Free Software thing, FLOSS enthusiasts of all kinds,
and you. If you know others who would be interested in the topic,
please invite them along too. The meeting will start at 7pm.
In other news, this month's FLOSS Fund nominee is the PortableApps
installer, which you can read about at http://portableapps.com .
PortableApps provides a way to package Windows software (often FLOSS)
so that it can run without changing the underlying operating system,
which makes it handy for installing applications to USB keys. You can
contribute to this month's nominee during the meeting, or by
contacting me offlist.
* * *
This month's consists of a panel discussion about earning a living with Free and Open Source Software (FLOSS). All of our panellists use FLOSS in their jobs -- some of them exclusively.
The panellists will discuss topics including: how they got involved with FLOSS, how they got employment relating to FLOSS, the prospects and challenges of work in the field, and advice for others who are interested in FLOSS-related employment.
The night's panellists include: