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Hunting bugs for T-shirts (and cash)

A German programmer has received a flashy T-shirts, and got paid $2500, for pointing out 5 critical software flaws in products from the Mozilla Foundation.

Although I must admire that the non profit open source organisation is taking a novel approach to bug hunting, I'm also puzzled about what this does to the spirit of open source.

Software bugs are a fact of life and one that will be hard to eradicate any time soon. But the whole idea behind open source software development was to have a community of programmers work on a project for the greater benefit of society, the payment being honour and recognition from your fellow programmers.

What will be left of the open source idealism if we start paying bug hunters? Do we have to start paying developers whose code ends up in the Linux kernel next?

March 31, 2005 | Permalink

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