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My main experience is with iOS, but I'd like to move into writing free and open source software instead. Are there many jobs out there that allow you to work on projects like this? I've looked on the FSF website among others, but I'm having trouble finding any.

Are there certain communities or organisations that I would benefit from joining? And are there certain areas of the world that favour this kind of work?

This is something that I really want to do, but I'm not sure how to get started. Any advice would be much appreciated.

closed as off-topic by gnat, Arseni Mourzenko, user53019, Doc Brown, user40980 Mar 14 '15 at 23:55

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Your question looks like career advice so might be off-topic here.

I am sometimes working on free software, but I am not an expert on that.

First, most major (or large and significant) free software (Linux kernel, GCC compiler, Firefox browser) are mostly (but not entirely) developed by paid professionals. In other words, the idea that major free software is developed by part-time hobbyists is today mostly a myth (it might be still true for many one-man projects; it is false for multi-million lines of source code free software). Free software is very serious business.

Then, as a job market, the free software communities are very demanding and extremely competitive (world-wide). You are unlikely (IMHO) to find a paid job if you are not known by some free software meritocracy.

Hence my advice is to start working on your own on some existing free software project you like (you probably could check that your work contract does not legally prohibit that). Once you are known for some positive contributions to some free software things might become different. Contributing to free software (in a regular and transparent manner) require both technical skills (understanding the code base) and social skills (interacting with the community).

BTW, things are different if your are employed by some corporation, or if you are self-employed. Several free-lancers are able to sell some part-time contributions to free software. Several corporations permit some workers to work on some free software part-time.

So you could start today by finding some interesting (for you!) free software, e.g. on github, then contributing some code to it.

  • Do you have a source for numbers of paid developers working on free software? Last I heard the kinds of projects listed (linux kernel etc.) are very much exceptions and that the bulk of FOSS development is still predominantly the domain of students and hobbyists. – James Snell Mar 14 '15 at 16:50
  • I did wrote major free software. Of course, there are zillions of one man free software projects. And you should define what is a free software to you (something on github, or something packaged in Debian??). – Basile Starynkevitch Mar 14 '15 at 16:52
  • I'm just asking you to share your evidence to back up your assertion "...that free software is developed by part-time hobbyists is today mostly a myth." – James Snell Mar 14 '15 at 17:10
  • Well, as one example, Webkit, which is primarily developed by Apple employees. – Steven Burnap Mar 14 '15 at 17:22
  • Thanks for the response, I realise that this might not have been the best place to ask, but I wasn't sure where else to get the advice. I think you're right that I should start contributing on my own first. I'm teaching myself Ruby and Rails at the moment so I'll likely start there. Thanks again – AdColvin Mar 14 '15 at 17:44

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