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Give Work Away?

This question or one like it has been asked in this forum several time in the past couple of weeks:

"Where are the graphic designers or user interface experts willing to give their work away for free like programmers will?"

Am I mistaken, or is the answer to this question "Right here"?

Joel can be considered a UI expert (whatever that is). And he often gives advice, recommendations, etc. out here and elsewhere.  The Ask Joel forum also comes to mind. Is that somehow different?

Tom H
Friday, April 30, 2004

"Where are the graphic designers or user interface experts willing to give their work away for free like programmers will?"

Both the GNOME and KDE desktop environments for Linux have a number of graphic designers and user interface experts working on those projects.

Almost Anonymous
Friday, April 30, 2004

Interestingly, with KDE, not a single person on the development team is listed as Graphic Artist or anything of the like.  Some people titles or areas indicate those areas, but upon inspection, they are often being paid. 

For example, Waldo Bastian is in charge of making sure KDE has a consistent look and feel.  Interestingly, as the closest person to a graphic artist on the team, he is being paid to work full time on KDE by SuSE.

http://www.kde.org/areas/people/

Elephant
Friday, April 30, 2004

Two things;

1. I think there's very few excellent UI experts willing to give more than a few minutes of time for free to a commercial product (which most people here are involved with).

Much of the "free" graphics are only available for GPL'ed (and similar) projects. Many have a price list for commercial projects.

2. The more difficult UI questions can not be answered with a simple question. They usually involve a lot of prototyping, questioning users, creating a variety of diagrams, etc.

You're not going to get a useful answer here if you question involves much more than "checkbox or radio button".

Not because of the poor quality of posters, but simply because these questions can be involved.


All that said, posting here can often generate useful replies indicating a path you might want to take with your work.

Edward
Friday, April 30, 2004

>> Interestingly, as the closest person to a graphic artist on the team, he is being paid to work full time on KDE by SuSE.

Not that interesting, since many (most?) of the top Kernel developers (and Gnome/KDE/PHP/...) developers are either paid by their companies to work on the project or have jobs that depend on the product.

They myth that most of these developers are college students/unemployed/just doing it as a hobby is totally false.

RocketJeff
Friday, April 30, 2004

"Where are the graphic designers or user interface experts willing to give their work away for free like programmers will?"

This is just an excuse so OSS want to use as to why their software lacks polish.  "It's technically superior to all other software, but the damn graphics people won't give their work away.  That's why our UI is ass-like."

Mike
Friday, April 30, 2004

>> This is just an excuse so OSS want to use as to why their software lacks polish.

Well not everyone can be from Poland...

Anon-y-mous Cow-ard
Friday, April 30, 2004

I think there are plenty of budding UI designers etc that would love to contribute to OSS. The problem is that most projects are not set up in a way that encourages this.
Coders do the ui on the fly more or less and if you dont write code, you dont have a say.
I think a certain amount of pride is involved aswell, at least in smaller projects.

Ive done a bit of graphical design and stuff, and id be quite willing to participate as a designer. Problem is, when I try to, all that ever happends is that I get emails saying "OK, I need an Icon for this button. Draw it please. Thanks!"
Thats not participation, its being exploited which I dont much care for.
Then there the problem with design being something that is best done by one (or a handful like minded) individuals. The democracy thing dosent work there. (I think Joel said something along those line too, in the UI book.)

Eric Debois
Friday, April 30, 2004

I was just noting that the designers weren't giving away their work for free.  I'll stop trolling now.

Elephant
Friday, April 30, 2004

There are many other professions in which people give work away for free.  Generally they do this for publicity, to make contacts, and to get future paying work.

Kyralessa
Friday, April 30, 2004

When I first saw the business lawyer that was introduced to me through a referral, the guy spent about 2 hours (!) at no fee talking to me about my business plans and strategy. This was toward incorporating my business.

The law firm's fees for incorporation were about $1000. The lawyer spent the initial time answering my questions just to show that he was interested in a working relationship as well as in the immediate gig that I had in mind.

Bored Bystander
Friday, April 30, 2004

"Where are the graphic designers or user interface experts willing to give their work away for free like programmers will?"

Programmers aren't giving their work away for nothing though. It's still very much a two-way transaction: time and labour in return for 1. respect and recognition by one's peers, and 2. software they want and will use. Enlightened self-interest, rather than pure altruism, if you like.

Thus, to rephrase your question: "What, if any, motivation is there for graphic designers and user interface experts to contribute to OSS?"

has
Friday, April 30, 2004

Artists and graphic designers come from older occupations that  understand the role of work, money and pay.

Graphic designers get educated as to the value of their work and not working for free. Programmers don't. In fact, programmers get taught the opposite if anything.

.
Friday, April 30, 2004

I believe that the "sharing your code and knowledge" mentality comes from academia and from the collegial Bell Labs research environment that spawned C, C++ and Unix.

RMS co-opted this friendly collegial mentality by imposing an almost communistic distaste for commerce when it intersects code.

I think there are some circumstances in which giving code away is good for your career and professional status. I cultivated a decent consulting client several years ago by developing a small, trivial UI for them at no cost. They rewarded the gesture by throwing a lot of paying work my way.

I think it's OK to give anything away as long as you don't sacrifice anything vital in doing so and you don't artificially depress the market for others.

Bored Bystander
Friday, April 30, 2004

"Programmers aren't giving their work away for nothing though. It's still very much a two-way transaction: time and labour in return for 1. respect and recognition by one's peers, and 2. software they want and will use."

Honey, I know the kids are hungry.  Just with them up some respect salad and a large helping of software hotdish.  Oh and send the bank a large check of recognition for our house payment.

Gone too far
Friday, April 30, 2004

"I think it's OK to give anything away as long as you don't sacrifice anything vital in doing so and you don't artificially depress the market for others."

Giving something away and Open Source are two different things. Microsoft gave away Internet Explorer and crushed Netscape.




Tom H
Saturday, May 01, 2004

"Honey, I know the kids are hungry.  Just with them up some respect salad and a large helping of software hotdish.  Oh and send the bank a large check of recognition for our house payment."

LOL. :)

On the other hand, if you're, say, a professional developer working on Linux/Apache/Perl/SQL, it probably makes a lot of sense to contribute back into the platform at the same time as you benefit from it. c.f. John Nash, stone soup, it's not what you know but who you know, etc.

has
Saturday, May 01, 2004

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