Human, Cylon, & Human-Cylon Hybrid.
Contributing back to Open Source doesn't always mean "in code". In fact, most of the open-source coding I've done were of the local customizations variety -- nothing that you'd really want to release anyhow
But "contributing back" can simply mean that when you hang out on various mailing lists for packages you use, you help out once and awhile. Have hints on performance tuning? Post a wiki page. Deploy some infrastructure you're proud of? Give a talk on it at a conference.
Many of these sorts of things don't fall under what most companies deem their "competitive advantage" -- and not to mention they get you contacts that can help you out of a bind when YOU need it, and are great recruiting tools...
OpenID is a "standard". SAML is a "standard". Everyone seems to implement them slightly differently -- but at least folks are publishing how they're doing it, which is more than I can say of how things were 5 years ago.
An anonymous reader writes "API Lead at Twitter, Alex Payne, writes today that the Internet was 'built wrong,' and continues to be accepted as an inferior system, due to a software engineering philosophy called Worse Is Better. 'We now know, for example, that IPv4 won't scale to the projected size of the future Internet. We know too that near-universal deployment of technologies with inadequate security and trust models, like SMTP, can mean millions if not billions lost to electronic crime, defensive measures, and reduced productivity,' says Payne, who calls for a 'content-centric approach to networking.' Payne doesn't mention, however, that his own system, Twitter, was built wrong and is consistently down."