Open Source Software Up the Stack

Dennis Byron

Don't rush out and buy a new Mercedes: How open source pays!

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The blogosphere is buzzing about the high salaries OSS developers can demand. The buzz is based on stories that were kicked off by a recent press release from BlueWolf. BlueWolf is a New York City consulting company that "specializes in the deployment of enterprise software applications and in business process consulting."

Don't rush out and buy a new Mercedes just yet (or assuming open source developers also like to build cars from scratch, don't rush out and buy all the parts for a new Mercedes just yet). First notice that the press release does not mention open source at all. Michael Kirven, BlueWolf's Co-founder, mentioned an important trend he was seeing in open source development hiring in one of the subsequent interviews and all the facts got skewed as one story lead to another across the Internet.

I went back and asked BlueWolf to clarify so that I didn't join the line of bloggers playing the whisper game. There is some good news.

"There's been a huge wave of people embracing open source technologies," said Kirven in a prepared statment. "The availability of those techs has far outstripped the people trained for them."

But no hard numbers can be pinned to the trend yet.

And be careful of the overall numbers in the press release. None of the press people or bloggers writing the follow-up stories and blog posts went back to check the fine print. These are New York City prices folks, where a glass of OJ in the morning costs you $12 in midtown.

And possibly on the down side, follow the logic behind this article in Canada's IT World (you might have to sign up for their free subscription). SAP Labs Inc. researcher Dirk Riehle is right about the statistic in the first sentence in the article (see our recent research here) so I conclude that the rest of the thinking deserves some consideration.

But that does not mean that Kirven is wrong about open source developers being more in demand. In fact, I think BlueWolf's and SAP's findings might synch up.

Dennis Byron’s blog on open source software: A longtime market research analyst follows what “the movement? means to business integration—in applications, infrastructure, as services, as architecture and as functionality.

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