I feel like I don’t believe in Open Source anymore.

And you, how’s your day?

Some reasons:

  1. https://twitter.com/Pierstoval/status/1323258961974435840
  2. https://twitter.com/suckup_de/status/1326840923423170560
  3. https://www.orbitale.io/2019/04/19/capitalism-in-the-open-source-world.html

Next: continue reading.

What’s going on?

I think GAFAM/FAANG/NATU/BHATX are just sucking all free knowledge in order to give more money to the richest.

Even though some of them sort of “sponsor” open source initiatives, they would still die if there was no open source.

Some maintainers literally struggle for a decent mental health, with daytime job and nighttime open source pressure.

And yet these people don’t get any reward.

Paying them to work full-time on their contributions is IMO the ultimate solution.

Contributing: is it code?

Also, some people consider that open source is “contributing with code”.

It’s not.

It’s also helping people on different networks (stack overflow, twitter, slack, discord…), for free, during free time too (or during paid time if you’re lucky).

Zero recognition here either.

I’m literally tired that everything that pops in my news, mailing lists, social media, related to open source is mostly something like “We’re {whoever} doing {whatever} and we open source!” while it’s just a bunch of rich capitalist white guys in the bay area making more money.

I know there are still good initiatives. In France for instance we have this (old but becoming popular again) concept of “cooperative companies”, some of them want to do open source in the “good way”. There are others in the world too, I know that.

This is just not enough.

But everything is still sucked in its essence by big corporations.

( Just like everything else, by the way (health, security, democracy, nature…). )

And nobody can do anything against that, and that’s what kinda depresses me.

The reason

The reason why I think I don’t believe in Open Source anymore is because this happens for lower level tools (such as linux kernel, programming languages, libraries, frameworks…) by them being used for money in big companies, thanks to the MIT license.

But this also in applications themselves, by them being either abandoned or kicked out of the market by lobbies.

Think Gimp, Firefox, LibreOffice, NextCloud, Jitsi, whatever Open Source application that has a closed source alternative (photoshop, microsoft office, and so on).

All of them are absolutely great, the concepts are awesome (federations like in Framasoft’s tools Mobilizon, Mastodon and PeerTube for instance).

But the paid alternatives, “better in UX” sometimes, are still tracking you, using you, retaining you, and using open source tools

Take Curl for instance. It’s the most used HTTP client tool in the world.

I bet that any close source software that ever needs to fetch any data from the internet will use Curl.

Just imagine if $0.01 was given to @bagder everytime a private software using Curl was sold.

That’s what makes me think Open Source is no longer sustainable.

Every question on StackOverflow at some point is support someone asks for free.

You wouldn’t call your plumbing expert to ask them how to fix your leak. Either do it yourself, or pay them.

Same with Open Source.

What to do then?

New Open Source licenses must be developed, new funding methods must be legislated.

This is the key point in making a fairer digital future, more humanist and just.

Open Source must become more political.

My Open Source contributions have been more into helping and teaching than coding in the past 7 years.

From now on, I’m going to be stricter on help I’ll give.

I’m going to slow down code contributions, and focus on my personal health.

Unless being paid for it.

I’m sorry.