Do you actually want your own open source project?

Posted July 19, 2019

Open source is great! It’s an amazing way to grow as a developer, influence our craft, make friends, build your online resume, and help solve your own and others’ problems.

Open source is terrible! Angry issues, ambiguous PRs, pressure to maintain projects you’re not using anymore — all start to feel like the worst sort of homework.

Deciding to start and run open source projects is a tough choice — there’s no right choice for any person, life context, and project and many people rightfully avoid it.

Here’s a few thoughts:

It is a lot of work

Go in expecting this. Some projects start busy and work gradually declines as the project approaches “done”. Many others continue to demand more and more work as time passes. It might be fun at first to work all day Saturday on your project but that won’t last.

What is your motive?

These are some motives that are strong and sustainable and will keep things fun and rewarding even when the project feels especially demanding:

  • You need the project for your job
  • You like making friends with other OSS developers
  • You want to innovate and influence the direction of our craft
  • You want to solve an annoying problem you keep encountering
  • You love learning. OSS projects bring a constant stream of new challenges your way.
Tagged with open source

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Kyle's profile picKyle Mathews lives and works in Seattle building useful things. You should follow him on Twitter. Currently exploring what's next and open to consulting.