[Linux-aus] Salary Survey

David Lloyd lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Sat Jun 11 07:28:02 UTC 2005


> You have already done any damage possible by indicating you have
> something to hide.  

Everyone has one or two things to hide...

> The name calling applies to yourself by bringing attention to your
> circumstances, there is nothing to fear by anyone in providing basic
> statistical information.

There's an old saying, almost a cliche, that goes: 'There are lies,
damned lies and statistics'. Given the expertise, one could write a
salary survey which essentially present its data in whatever skewed
manner one wished to have it skewed.
For purposes of this discussion, I'll define commodity as 'something
which is ubiquitous and something that does not allow one to make large
profits working in (but it might provide a median-like lifestyle)'. 

I've been sensing for a while that much of the computer services
industry is slowly becoming a commodity that all can afford and that
open source can and does contribute to this.

Open source initiatives implemented poorly can, I believe, displace
people out of the computer services industry into positions they either
don't want or out of the industry totally (1).

As a follow on to this, I believe a salary survey implemented poorly
could lead to the false impression that either:

 1. Open source workers are paid significantly less than closed source

 2. Open source workers are paid significantly more than closed source

If we come up with the first option, what benefit financially for
someone to advocate open source and work within the industry? Sure, many
if not most of us, may be more interested in supporting the open source
community and the community in general, but we all have to find the
means to eat and we live in a capitalist society and not all of us are
Buddhist monks.

If we come up with the second option, then why would a business choose
open source over a less expensive proprietary based solution? At the end
of the day, a business is there to further its own profit and I believe
only does 'community based projects' because it believes that doing so
furthers its own profit.

In other words, we may come up with something like this:

 Open Source Industry Programmers are paid a median of $40 000 gross per
 year with a standard deviation of $2500. 10% of this grouping is paid
 more than $65 000 and 10% of this grouping is paid less than $35 000.

[these figures are pulled out of thin air btw]

So what? What are we going to use these figures for? What do they prove?
How do we propose to ensure this 'survey' doesn't become skewed or at
least becomes skewed in a way that we want it to? What other projects,
processes or things that Linux Australia might want to do would this
survey support?

Perhaps at the end of the day, my concerns are:

 1. Of privacy

   - No, I actually don't have anything significant to hide
   - Then again, I don't particularly want to advertise some things

 2. Of validity of data

  - Remember, lies, damned lies and statistics?
  - If we get a heap of bad data, or obviously skewed data, we'll be
    just as guilty as other marketing people of, well, getting the data
    we want rather than the data that is actually there

 3. Umm, why?

  - What in the world is the purpose of collecting this data

I think Linux Australia has gone 'Aha! Here's a cool and interesting
idea, let's go and implement it!' without actually answering 'Aha!
Here's a cool and interesting idea, but WHY would we want to implement


(1) If anyone wants to quote this, I have no doubt they'll manage to
remove the 'implemented poorly' relative clause and come up with
something I did not say

(2) I have a feeling most programmers acting as project managers or
marketing bodies have a tendency to fall into the 'It's a cool idea and
we could use this cool piece of code [open source, closed source
whatever]' without actually answering 'Why, how, in what context and
such'...*sigh* Is it just me or am I a cynic?

(3) BTW, yes I do agree that open source communities produce such great
outcomes because they are founded by people with common goals based on
dialogue and mutual respect. I really can't see how a particularly
blunt, 'I think it's stupid' e-mail message, written in my own
considerably dogmatic style:

 a) Demonstrates I have a 'different goal'
 b) Demonstrates that I'm not participating in the dialogue
 c) Demonstrates mutual disrespect

No doubt I've managed to upset the sensibilities of some and they
possibly think that I'm being mutually disrespectful [whatever that
means]. Well, twiddle sticks, I've been about in what might loosely be
termed the open source community for many years, I've had the same
personality for all those years - actually I've become slightly more
mellow as the years go by - and I've participated in quite a good number
of projects and activities that actually promote open source goals....

And everyone who's worked with me to promote those goals knows very
well that I call spades spades and if I think you're doing something
stupid, I'm likely to tell you straight out that I think you're doing
something stupid and you should stop it.

Hopefully my rather long winded explanation of why I think the current
proposal in its current format is, well, stupid, might actually show
that I don't just run around calling things stupid for the fun of, well,
calling things stupid (although calling things stupid when they're not
is a most amusing past time)...

(4) PS: I'm well known for playing devil's advocate and it amuses me
when people fall hook, line and sinker for it :P

More information about the linux-aus mailing list