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Damian Conway Interviewed by Pair.com

Damian Conway is interviewed in the December 2001 issue of the Pair Networks Insider Newsletter. The interview is quite interesting because it discusses:

  • the delay of his planned book on Perl modules (for O'Reilly),
  • the number of separate projects he must juggle that he considers full-time jobs,
  • the aspects of the Perl language that make it his favorite programming tool,
  • the issues with keeping CPAN useful during the transition between Perl 5.6 and Perl 6,
  • the ways in which rank-and-file Perl developers can contribute to the OpenSource movement, and
  • the areas he recommends Perl developers focus on if they want to be prepared for the future.

This is a very interesting and wide-ranging interview, and it is highly recommended.

Probably the most revealing aspect of this interview is the honest explanation of the time demanded by the maintenance of successful projects that he has done previously, combined with the new work he has taken on. This is a common problem that becomes increasingly significant as people achieve increasing levels of success and recognition.

The value of perfoming professional work inside the context of a business is that additional people can be engaged to maintain, while the vanguard continues to create value. Too many of the most productive people in the OpenSource community are working without a corporate support system, or work with less corporate support than they need. This will continue to be a problem as long as developers are not compensated sufficiently for their contributions to the community.

Of course, compensation is not necessarily an issue of the community being unwilling to fairly compensate the most productive developers. Many developers fail to seek compensation when it might be available. Not seeking financial compensation is not necessarily altruistic if it means that the pace of future advancement or future maintenance is constrained.

At CTDATA, we are just as guilty of not seeking funding to scale the business to support our value-added work as anyone or any other company is.

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