Speaking Of Open Source

PostgreSQL is looking for a web designer to give their site a new look. From the mailing list:

To help find a great designer, we’ve decided to put $2000 on the table.

The first stage of the project is a design mock-up. A panel of
PostgreSQL community members will act as judges for a $1000 (US)
prize! We want our web design to reflect the care, dedication and
excellence of our developers. We’ve outlined in detail what we’re
looking for at http://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/Website_Overhaul_Requirements.

The second stage of the project is implementation. The winning
designer will develop the stylesheets and create any images required,
and work with the PostgreSQL Web Team to deploy the new design
throughout our infrastructure. An additional $1000 will be awarded to
the designer once the new look goes live!

So if you’re a web designer who fancies contributing to a great open source project but would also like a little cashola if you win, this could be your chance. More details on the mailing list.

Hungarian Government Socializes Open Source

There’s some chatter in the internets this morning about Hungary “boosting” open source use by requiring all their civil servants to spend equal amounts of money on open source software and proprietary software. According to the linked article this “will be the first time that open source will gain equal status with proprietary vendors in centralised public sector tenders.”

Of course, the problem is that open source is only gaining equal status at the point of a gun and NOT based on its superiority. There is just as much chance of this having a detrimental effect on open source as it does having a positive effect. When you throw money at things that don’t deserve, you don’t often get a superior product.

I use quite a few open source tools in my day to day development but I do that because they are better than the proprietary alternatives. I donate to these projects because they make my job or life easier. There are lots of open source tools I’ve tried that aren’t too great and I can’t imagine being forced to spend money on them just to supposedly level the playing field.

Open source succeeds because of the dedication and talent of a very diverse community. Forcing people to use it doesn’t further that cause. If anything, it may end up attracting people with less talent but more greed as they eye 40 million euros in government largesse. Forcing taxpayers to fund projects that may or may not be better than their proprietary counterparts will likely be largely counterproductive and lead the open source community, at least as it relates to what Hungary spends its dollars on, away from innovation and towards a chase for cash.

Further and deeper thoughts on what the cause and effect of this will be can be found here.