Having witnessed in various open source projects, in which I have been involved, several more or less significant totally anonymous contributions, I am wondering what could be the possible rationale behind such anonymous contributions?
Occasionally, there are contributors who quite obviously prefer to remain completely anonymous – i.e. by just posting to a mailing list using an obvious nick name for months (whereas everyone else would use their real name), or sometimes even by submitting completely anonymous patches to trackers on sourceforge, where there wasn’t even the slightest comment about the origins/authors, usually just a license header or a header stating that the code in question were to be released into the public domain.
Often, the code in question was obviously written by fairly competent programmers/developers or even software engineers, who presumably do code for a living.
I am wondering:
- What’s the motivation behind such contributions?
- Have you previously witnessed such and similar instances in open source projects?
- Have you, yourself possibly contributed to an open source project in such a fashion?
- If so, why?
- Can you provide any other insight into this?
After having read another question here on SO, and also after having read two related discussions (at slashdot and perlmonks) about potential work-contract related issues when contributing to open source projects, I am wondering whether some contributors could possibly prefer to remain completely anonymous due to their contract requirements, in order to avoid potential legal issues.