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Alex Bilbie:
Open Source Guilt
August 18, 2014 @ 13:29:43

Alex Bilbie has an interesting new post to his site looking at the idea of open source guilt. He uses the term to describe the feeling you can get when a project falls by the wayside and you're not putting as much effort into it as you had before. He uses his own real-world project work as an example (an Oauth2 server and client).

I've willingly and happily poured hours of my life into both projects. [...] After leaving the university I moved to London and my life "got flipped-turned upside down" (as Will Smith once put it) which naturally resulted in a reduction in the number of commits that went into the projects. [...] I did my best with the emails piling up in my inbox but I also ignored many. [...] Releasing open source projects is a great feeling however there are a number of considerations one should bear in mind.

He makes the suggestion of four things to keep in mind when working on and releasing an open source project. These are things that can remind you (and keep you away from) some of the issues he's had in his own work:

  • Actions have consequences
  • People want to help
  • Your personal reputation is on the line
  • Popular open source projects work well when the authors are using the project regularly themselves

He also includes a few personal things he's going to do to try to make life easier and happier including roadmaps for projects, documenting via FAQs and being more honest about his own availability.

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Link: http://alexbilbie.com/2014/08/open-source-guilt/


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