Through these responses and those of the people I’ve caught up with over the last couple of months the overarching message is that these are individuals with enquiring minds who like to mess around with kit, figure out how things work and produce useful solutions.
“I have been an IT systems engineer, and my function has been primarily education, analysis and design, not programming,” wrote one. “I have taught around a thousand people to program computers. But, I don’t like to program. It’s so boring. Programmers are a special breed of people. Most people cannot do it well, no matter how much they study or how hard they try.”
The conclusion, however, was: “I love the Linux operating system, have used it since 1994 and have five computers hooked together in my home network. I understand this stuff pretty well, and like to fool around with it.”
Most people are in it for the long-term and they are not looking to escape their day job. In fact, less than a third actively compartmentalize between “work for love” and “work for money.” Interestingly, this is the same number who do see leaving their job as something of motivating factor in all these efforts.
It is hard to draw any serious conclusions from a small sample study like this one. However, it does provide a tiny glimpse of insight into what motivates people to pursue projects outside work for the long haul.
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