I have a bit of an admission to make. Something that a lot of people
would consider to be a shame of sorts, but something I feel I should
talk about anyways. I’m afraid to contribute to open-source.
It’s not that I don’t think I’m good enough, I’ve got enough
production code under my name to back me up when I say I know what a
loop is and why I should use one. Rather, my fear comes from the
community around open-source.
Everywhere I look and everywhere I go, there seems to be a
deep-seated attitude whereby abuse and hostility are not only ignored,
but encouraged. Now, while I do have a thick skin from growing up being
the subject of many bullies torments, I find it hard for me to justify
volunteering my time and effort to contribute when there is a
better-than-none chance that I will cop public abuse for my
efforts. This is something very difficult for me, because I am a firm
supporter of open-source software, and I do want to give back to the
community-at-large that has enabled me to do so much with software.
The reason the title says ‘killing’ is that what happens when my
feelings about this spread? The Linux Kernel admittedly has a problem
with trying to get newer developers on board, and one day it might just
be that there are no developers left who have the stomach to put up with
the hostility and the Linux Kernel could die (in reality, I very much
doubt any large company would let that happen). Without developers who
are willing to step in and continue working on open-source projects,
then open-source is effectively dead.
In saying all this, I want to finish on a somewhat positive note. To
all those who make and maintain open-source software, I want to thank
you for enabling me to keep building cool things.