The "Programmers Will be out of Work" because of Free Software Myth

It is unlikely that assuming Open Source software becomes the dominant software, it will imply that programmers will "starve to death". As Eric Raymond notes in the Magic Cauldron, the vast majority of software out there is software without a sale value: be it software that large organization like banks, insurance companies or armies use to power their critical systems, customizations, scripts or code used within smaller organizations (Access customizations, Perl or shell scripts, Macros), embedded software whose source code is not released to the public, software that powers web-sites and was not released to the public, etc.

The majority of programmers out there are employed for developing such software, whose codebase dwarfs that of the marketplace software that includes all commercial and open-source software put together.

In due times, packages are developed and become available that makes some tasks that were once hard to do internally almost straightforward to set up and run. Nevertheless, these packages still require a clueful person to operate, diagnose problems, communicate with the vendor or developer and manage the configuration. For example, a complete computer beginner will probably not know what to do with a spreadsheet program (such as Microsoft Excel) without thoroughly studying it. Afterwards, it becomes a very useful tool.

Even if programmers do become out of job as a result of free software, then it will not necessarily a bad thing. It means that it solved problems that otherwise required extra hands, and so those programmers can be allocated for something else entirely that is more productive.