Are you a software consumer or community player?

It is generally acknowledged that Open Source software (OSS) benefits greatly from the feedback it gets from it’s users. It takes a community mindset to file a bug report once you as a user stumble upon a fault in the software. How do you react when you discover a bug in an Open Source package? On a number of occasions, I have witnessed a response from users, that varies from “I told you so” to “I am a bit disappointed in that so called Open Source stuff”. I think you might call this the consumer mindset. During the years, we have become accustomed to have a critical eye for tools like Microsoft Office, especially after reading a report about the wealth of people like Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer. Often, we thought: “why is this software so buggy, while these guys make so much money?” For a number of users, this irritated, critical consumer mindset has stayed and while they have switched over to a Open Source package, they are comparing the people that created this package to large companies like Microsoft. But in the philosophy of the Open Source movement, everybody can contribute; rich or poor, developer or user, irrespect of the country you live in or your occupation.

3 Signs of the consumer mindset

  1. I have bought this package, so I have to use it
  2. The people who have made the package I use, only want to make more money
  3. What is the address of their helpdesk? I demand help

3 Signs of the community mindset

  1. The package is free and so are the alternatives. I only use this package because I like it
  2. The developers and their community are normal guys like you and me
  3. I join the community, and exchange ideas and suggestions to improve the package