I hope that I am posting this message in the right place, if not kindly refer me.
I am a master student writing a paper on motivation and open source software. There is considerable research and papers written on the theme, however my focus is pedagogical software, namely Moodle. A central question in the paper is what motivates teachers, trainers, software developers etc to contribute to an open source LMS such as Moodle.
I am interested in creating a discussion/dialogue where contributors can discuss their motivation factor(s). I suggest a discussion in this forum as the information is possibly interesting and inspiring for others, however feel free to send me a message if you wish to give feedback anonymously (please see the postscript for more information).
My definition of contribution to an open source project is broad. There is considerable contribution in Moodle - covering core development, bug fixes, translators, themes etc. even offering help in a forum is contribution to an open source project.
I do not wish to suggest responses however some key words in other open source projects would be idealism, recognition, being part the community, "scratching a personal itch", joy of developing/contributing. I am interested in intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors.
Without contributors Moodle would not be what it is today so why do pedagogues spend their limited time on developing an LMS?
Thanking all in advance
Postscript on privacy: If anyone is kind enough to respond I will naturally keep responders anonymous in my analysis, I will also endeavor to paraphrase so that data is less "googlable". I will always contact contributors and request permission before quoting directly. This note is not to scare people off (I hope it won´t!), but it is to make readers aware that the published word is traceable and I take privacy seriously. Send me an email or internal message if in doubt.
This will have to be short as you are aware time is just that! why contribute? it is neither for personal gain, recognition etc i think the definition of itch is more descriptive. All information in the world should be free, quote Plato, Hegel who ever you please, but all people should have equal access to the worlds knowledge and all teachers. Moodle provides a somewhat restricted method for this as students need the Internet. Its a start as it allows a science and Maths teachers like me to reach 1000's of students. As many cultures say, only the educated are free, and maybe this is my moral itch.
Moodle.org is an interesting OSS community in that it has many practitioners as active members. In my opinion, as well as the other things you mention, I think they make the very valuable contribution of requirements for future versions. Their experimentation and feedback is, I think, responsible for the diversity of Moodle (that might also be 'problem' in terms of complexity).
I make limited use of Moodle in my day job but I benefited from its use on various projects, and have derived knowledge and enjoyment (as well a some great contacts) from my modest contribution to these forums.
Thanking in advance