I pose an interesting question to the esteems Open Source software development community: Do you get better FOSS code, more functional software if the developers are paid or unpaid? I ask this because Nicholas Negroponte put forth a very counter-intuitive suggestion in The Sugar daddy for future generations on why the OLPC refocusing was actually beneficial to Sugar software development:
"OLPC should have trimmed sooner," he says. "We have since grown stronger. Almost all the cutbacks were in engineering staff related to the in-house support of Sugar, which is far better done in the community. In fact, paying people to do it from within created a degree of control that was unsuitable for real open-source development."
Personally, I don't see the logic to expecting better Open Source software outcomes without paying a core team to lead its development. No matter the size of the community, if the software is integral to your mission, you need to have some degree of control, and a paycheck is usually the best leverage for that control.
But I'm willing to be swayed into thinking that you can get better Open Source development from volunteers than employees, if there are good examples of this or if you feel that Sugar will be better lead by the community's "Open Source fundamentalists" than OLPC or even Sugar Labs.
So, what's your opinion? Do you get better FOSS code, more functional software if the developers are paid or unpaid?