Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Businesses Software Linux

How To Hire Great Open Source Developers? 246

An anonymous reader writes "This is the first article I've ever read specifically about hiring open source developers, and how to judge their ability not just to code but to work with others. It's reprinted over at ITMJ [part of OSDN, as this site is] from a book by Martin Fink, the General Manager for HP's Linux Systems Division. Brings up a lot of good points, including how you need to make sure your open source people are developing things (on company time) that do the company some good, not just scratching their own itches. Fun quote: 'Discover what pseudonyms your candidate uses online. Look at the archives at SlashDot and other online locales. Does your candidate hide behind secret pseudonyms to trash other individuals? Is there passion without condemnation?'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How To Hire Great Open Source Developers?

Comments Filter:
  • by CharonX ( 522492 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:43AM (#8461874) Journal
    Bram Cohen (famous maker of Bittorrent) managed had his carrer boosted only because his open source project - Bittorrent.
    His current employers saw his work and hired him on the spot...
  • Re:Of course (Score:4, Informative)

    by scorp888 ( 53723 ) <scorp888 AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:56AM (#8461932)
    Of course, you should look for that in any programmer, not just open source.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @09:22AM (#8462022)
    When you watch somebody write code, here are some techniques that may be helpful:

    Always reassure them that you understand that it's hard to write code without an editor, and you will forgive them if their paper gets really messy. Also you understand that it's hard to write bug-free code without a compiler, and you will take that into account.

    Some signs of a good programmer: good programmers have a habit of writing their { and then skipping down to the bottom of the page and writing their }s right away, then filling in the blank later.

    They also tend to have some kind of a variable naming convention, primitive though it may be...

    Good programmers tend to use really short variable names for loop indices. If they name their loop index CurrentPagePositionLoopCounter it is sure sign that they have not written a lot of code in their life. Occasionally, you will see a C programmer write something like if (0==strlen(x)), putting the constant on the left hand side of the == . This is a really good sign. It means that they were stung once too many times by confusing = and == and have forced themselves to learn a new habit to avoid that trap.

    Good programmers plan before they write code, especially when there are pointers involved. For example, if you ask them to reverse a linked list, good candidates will always make a little drawing on the side and draw all the pointers and where they go. They have to. It is humanly impossible to write code to reverse a linked list without drawing little boxes with arrows between them. Bad programmers will start writing code right away.

    The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing

    By Joel Spolsky 00 73.html
  • by fgb ( 62123 ) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @09:54AM (#8462219)
    I would add to that: good programmers like to know their tools and would know that it is not necessary to write ass-backward and unreadable code like if (0==strlen(s)).

    Any good compiler released in the last twenty years has the ability to catch these kind of errors.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre