Monday, June 24, 2013

Your Career: Large Linux Project Involvement Key

by Dietrich Schmitz

When everyone pulls their own oar and to a beat the vessel moves along quite well does it not?

Every organization operates much like this on a certain level.

Without a cadence, timing, planning, and execution, the vessel won't move forward -- at least not efficiently.

It might even sit still and possibly move backwards.

When conflicting goals and interests arise, those oars no longer operate in unison.

What would it be like if suddenly, the majority of developers chose not to write for their respective Distribution and all came aboard one large vessel equipped with many oars?

Might then the ability to reach goals and objectives increase and be obtained more quickly?  Might the vessel be more powerful and move with greater speed?

How do you see yourself (the Developer) having an effect on the outcomes of Linux 'at large' in terms of achieving success?  What is your measure of success?

Would working on a single larger project be more meaningful if you knew the potential for your work's positive effect would be realized?

These are things which I have thought about as I survey the current Distribution sprawl.  So many are bound to recede into insignificance and I predict only a few, larger ones, will remain standing in five years.  I submit, as few as six Distros will still be around.  The rest of you, former hackers, wasting time on an obscure Distribution, will have grown jaded, tired and moved on leaving dead projects behind.  Those Distros will whither, dry up and simply die.  If this is true, then wouldn't making a decision today to redirect your talent to actually doing something which has a chance of being genuinely useful in five years be an important career decision?

I fear for young Developers who have invested their energy in smaller Distros and their projects without thinking about whether they are doing what's best for their own career path.

I've written that I feel there are too many Distros.  Qualitatively, only a few have merit, technology-wise, and the rest, like Cloverleaf, are merely clones with just some minor adaptation.  Sadly, this isn't progress.  It isn't innovating and for the young ambitious Developer, it is a waste of your precious skills, talent and time.  It won't advance your career.  Worse, if a project closes unexpectedly, you'll have potentially wasted many hours or years of your life, for naught.  Don't allow that to happen.  Don't say, "I wasted [x] years of my life."  That would be a shame.

Find a large project.  Move up the food chain and mingle with the Big Fish in the Big Pond and learn from truly experienced technology professionals.  Gain from advanced thinking that thrives in those environments and benefit from accelerated learning.

I don't care which, but move up the scale to the large Distros, Debian, Fedora, Mageia, Ubuntu, and get involved.  Get your foot in the door there however you can and stay there where one can truly make a difference and grow intellectually at the same time.

Don't Become a Big Fish in a Little Pond.  It won't help your career.

-- Dietrich
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