The following document was taken from Machtelt Garrel’s Site.
Go for nerds!
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.