Pedro Piñera

Flattery-driven open-source

3 January 2021

With the society trending towards short-term wins and satisfaction, open-source is no different. Doing open-source is shifting from being something close to the art of craftsmanship, to make developers feel like a magician where their GitHub profile is the hat, and the rabbit their new project for the “community” to talk about. They are competing with themselves to have always a new trick (i.e. project) to show off.

There’s something positive in it: there’s constant innovation. However, there are important caveats that our industry should be aware of. The first one of them is fatigue that developers face when choosing their stack because open source creators optimize quantity over quality. There are many shallow projects that you might not be able to use because the creator is already in the mood of finding new tricks. That’s not negative per-se. The problem comes when expectations are not set and a hype is created around it when there are no interests in maintaining it long term. The community is given something that has a side effect on the maintainer’s flattery. The community is a means, not a goal. The second caveat is fatigue for the developer that is in the constant lookout of of those tricks. Burnout is becoming normal in the industry, and attitudes like the one I’m describing here naturally lead to it. You create this illusion that the community needs you and therefore you need to respond: open source projects, blog posts, podcasts, books, talks. That’s insanely unsustainable.

Although I’ve had times where I also trended myself towards that approach of doing open-source, I realized it stressed me and created this false illusion of the community needs me 24/7.

Tuist was in fact that hat-rabbit that became my pet, and with whom I like spending time these days.

Copyright © Pedro Piñera, 2019