Dear FLOSS (Free / Libre / Open Source Software) participant:
In 2002, MERIT/Infonomics at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands,
carried out the FLOSS developer survey supported by the European Union. This
was the first survey that provided deep insights in the international FLOSS
community, its beliefs, and its functioning. Although this study has been
pathbreaking for many research activities in the following years, some very
important questions regarding this phenomenon remained unanswered so far.
The original FLOSS survey sponsored by the European Union, and follow up
FLOSS-US (Stanford) and FLOSS-Japan/FLOSS-Asia (Mitsubishi Research) showed
that "Learning new skills" was the most common reason provided by developers
for their community participation. Another significant finding of surveys is
that there are far fewer women in FLOSS development than in software
development as a whole. In this two-part survey, once again supported by the
European Union, we would like to find out, first, how learning is organised
and perceived within the FLOSS community and, second, to understand better
the role of women within the community.
For this purpose we rely heavily on your support, because you and your
colleagues are the only ones who have the experience and expertise to help
us revealing a realistic and appropriate picture of the community. Therefore
we would like to ask you to fill in the following questionnaire. The more
FLOSS developers respond, the better and more accurate the survey results.
FLOSSPOLS is a scientific project that is financed by the European
Commission. It serves exclusively purposes in the public interest,
especially the provision of support for European policies towards Open
Source and Free Software. The information you provide will be kept strictly
confidential, and nobody outside the FLOSSPOLS research team will have
access to personalised data. Moreover, all results we publish will ensure
that the identification of persons who have replied to the questionnaires
will be impossible.
If you are younger than 18 years, we would like to draw attention to the
fact that surveying of underage persons is a sensitive ethical issue in the
EU framework. However, we acknowledge that many members of the FLOSS
community are quite young. If you are underage, we would like to recommend
that you carefully consider the purpose of our survey, as stated in this
letter, before filling it out.
If you have further questions or comments on this topic do not hesitate to
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