The information below was gladly sponsored by European tax payers. The money went to a Dutch company for doing social research among developers. People doing this kind of research deserve a financial compensation, of course.
The start point of the research was a questionnaire for developers, asking about demographical information, orientation, motivation, earning and employment.
The typical nerd
The survey started with a description of the typical geek or nerd that can be expected in a developer environment:
The subject is male.
If not home-sticking, then at least computer-sticking.
Only interested in computers.
While some will say otherwise, it is generally believed they earn relatively high incomes.
The friends of a nerd are other nerds.
Nerds generally know their friends only by E-mail or IRC since they never go out.
The working day of a nerd usually starts when yours end. They live on cafeine, nicotine and other -ines.
They are single. Since they never go out.
A large part are still students.
Or, as the dictionary puts it: geek: a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake, which translates as "not the sociable kind".
Yes, it's true!
The actual survey was about checking if the above is all true. Most of it is.
And so much for the better. Geeks are typically at the perfect age for reproduction and fun. Only one fifth is student, but all of them are 98% male. But don't we all love a typical man with just a slight touch of the female nature? Macho's with a soft spot?
Another advantage is that only one fifth of the geeks are married. That's probably not the same fifth that are students, but that still makes over half of them possible dates. Except if you love the risk of going for young boys or married men, in that case you still have the full choice.
My general impression is that women like to have a partner they can respect, somebody intelligent, and that women will give up an attractive partner for an intelligent one. Now, your average nerd is not very attractive, but they do have the brains, all consolidated in PhD's, university or highschool degrees and various certificates. So I'm quite sure that geeks or nerds are OK, guru's on the other hand are not good candidates in my opinion. It seems that you have to really spend an awful lot of time behind your computer in order to achieve guru status, while you can be a nerd by more or less keeping up appearances. This can be done, specifically in the case of Open Source activists, by spending a couple of hours a week on your projects. Most people really don't do more than that, so there's plenty of time for building relationships.
Also on the financial plan you're quite safe with a nerd: unemployed nerds virtually don't exist. Except the students, but if you go for the young boys option, you should be prepared to grab your wallet from time to time. It's a well-known fact they don't have anything at all. The average geek on the other hand makes a fair and reliable monthly income, enough to sustain wife and children and a nice house in a nice neighbourhood.
Free/Open Source developers vs. closed source developers
The above statements should of course be revised if we are to compare Open Source developers with closed source developers. There's an equal amount of both, but I would advise to try an Open Source developer if you have the choice. Open Source developers are generally more satisfied with their work, so consequently they will be more agreeable human beings. As an extra, they suffer less from time pressure, so they have less stress, and a longer life. About that last statement we don't know anything yet, because geeks are commonly too young a group for producing this kind of statistical material, but it is my guess this will become clear in a couple of decades.
Since Open Source developers clearly seem to enjoy what they're doing, they don't usually think that money is all-important. They usually have a healthy attitude towards balancing earning and spending money. Expect your presents in hardware, of course. But hey, if he buys your laptop, all the more for you to spend on make-up, new clothes or whatever you like!
Other nice side effect of Open Source is the motivation and energy these developers have. And not only about their software. They will also be very enthousiastic about you, guaranteed! And they want to make things better - almost sounds like Philips, what more can you want? Plus they are innovative and funny and generally not the kind of guy that wants to stay in his ivory tower.
To a certain (large) class of Open Source developers, programming is an art. They have an eye for aesthetics. They will tell you when you look too fat in your dress, but when asked to observe, they will notice you changed your hair colour.
Open Source people are also the kind of guys that usually have elaborate ideas about politics and freedom, and are generally peace-loving. Not the kind of husband that beats up his wife - maybe because they usually don't have the physics for it to start with, but even if they would, you're safe.
You might not have thought of it, but your true Jacob might be a geek...
More information can be found at infonomics.nl. The survey was published in the Autumn of 2002 and apparantly was also referenced in SlashDot.
Last evening, I received a singular lesson in Indo-American relations. And why the two countries are coming closer despite minor irritants like Pakistan and Iraq. The lesson was delivered by a young American who wished to remain unnamed. The setting was one of those boring parties that features businessmen, journalists and members of the diplomatic corps of various countries. The immediate provocation that sparked off this most interesting conversation was my stray remark -- naive as I see it now -- that America, being the most owerful country in the world today, did not need anyone's help to do whatever it wished. Or, at least, that Americans needed help from other countries far less than the latter did from them.
I was gently contradicted by this your American gentleman. "Oh, but you are so wrong," he said."Sure, we Americans do not need much help from other countries -- but we just cannot do without the help of India."
I must confess that left me completely stumped. "Why does the US need India? Is is because we are both democracies and we both want to fight terrorism?" I asked. "Of course not. There are far more important reasons than that," he remarked. "It is because of your sheer numbers. Why, even George Bush remarked to former ambassador Blackwill once that what he liked about India was that it had a 'billion people..... Isn't that something?' "
"So that is the reason -- India is a big market for the Americans, is that it?" I asked. "Oh, you are not really an attractive market. There are dozens of other markets which have better potential," he said.
By now I was getting thoroughly puzzled. So I waited for him to explain further.
"You see, we need you at the time of birth," he said. "We are facing a terrible shortage of nurses back home -- we need almost 500,000 of them in a hurry and fewer and fewer people are joining the nursing courses in the US. It is a terrible job -- low wages, bad working hours, not many prospects of going up in life. And, therefore, we need nurses from India.
"And then we need teachers," he continued. "Now you Indians produce vast hordes of graduates and post-graduates who have no jobs. They jump at the thought of becoming teachers in our public schools. Now not too many people in America want to become teachers in these schools, what with the shootings and the bad behaviour of our kids. So we are looking at Indians to fill up the positions in at least the worst public schools in our country."
"Then there is research on all the subjects -- genetics, software, telecommunication, pharmaceuticals -- where we Americans want to maintain our lead in the world. But because of our primary education system, we just aren't producing enough brilliant people. But your IITs churn out brains by the thousands. And we need them to do our research for us."
By now he was warming up to the subject. And I was more than happy to listen to his logic. "We will also shortly need you for our armed forces. As Iraq and Afghanistan showed us, even with our technological superiority in warfare, we still end up losing some American lives in battle," he said.
"But India doesn't want to fight American wars. I thought our prime minister had made that amply clear when the US asked for troops for Iraq," I argued.
"Oh, India can stay out if it wishes. But suppose we give out visas and green cards to people who want to join the American armed forces, I am sure we will get millions of Indians applying overnight. In fact, I have already proposed the idea to some higher ups," he said somewhat smugly.
"And then we need you people to man all those irate calls that we get from people who have bought American products. Why do you think so many of these call centre jobs are being shifted to India these days?" he said.
"I thought that was because of the cost differential," I pointed out.
"That is only a small part. The real reason was that we were simply too sick of fielding all those calls from cranky customers who think that just because they have bought a product, it gives them the right to also expect service," he said.
I must confess I had never thought of that aspect.
"And then we will need more doctors and nurses from India to look after our ageing baby boomers. We will need Indians to run our retirement homes. And we will need them to take care of hazardous things like flights to space," he said.
"So what will the Americans do?" I asked.
"Oh, we will continue to do the really important thing --- RUN THE WORLD."
These are my observations in an urban city of a developing country. One unanimous comment that I often hear is Traffic. That that how bad it is, no rules, pathetic roads and so on...... The government is to blame for this unplanned growth that has been causing chaos. And then there's no effective system to raise, track and execute Tickets.
All these might be very facts based arguments if thrown out in the wild. What I haven't found is what people think of good citizenship. This is a regular nightmare. The citizens have vehicles but have no etiquette on how to make use of it.
We have close to 50% people on high-beam
We have the wannabes with bright flashy lights (Ones those go terrible on your eyes)