The Dark Knight is chock full of memorable quotes and, dare I say, advice from none other than the Joker, a role played eerily, crazily, and fabulously by the late Heath Ledger. One of the many quotes that stuck with me is "If you are good at something, never do it for free." This is pretty good advice, especially when you are proposing to "Kill the Batman" in exchange for half of the mob's money. It worked for the Joker. He got the job.
But, is this advice good for software developers?
On the surface it seems silly to even ask the question. Why would anyone want to work for free? But plenty of people donate their time and talent to causes great and small in an effort to help people and to benefit humanity. That is a good thing. But, is this in fact good advice for open source software developers? To answer this question we need to know what motivates them and what they hope to gain.
Software developers contribute to open source projects for many different reasons.