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    I don’t think looking at open source as a toolbox to pick from is a helpful metaphor, I wrote more about this at http://www.danielcompton.net/2014/11/19/dependencies, but I’m fond of saying “It takes a village to raise a library”.

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      That link 404s for me.

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        Remove the comma at the end of the URL

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      I really can’t make my mind about the responsibilities of a FOSS maintainer.

      I build some software for myself and then I think “hmm, this could be useful for others, so let’s just open source it”. In this case, it’s clear that I have no responsibilities towards anyone at all.

      The other case is, I build FOSS to have some benefits from it. Like fame, or I want others to fix my bugs, port my code to other platforms, maybe I want to earn money through consultancy. Then I build a website for the project advertising how it’s the most awesomest thing ever created. I use all the marketing tricks in the book to create a hype machine, then it becomes a pseudo-necessity for others to invest time in that piece of software. Then, one day, someone complains about certain parts of the project being crap, just the opposite of how it’s advertised on the website. Then I say “F* you, I do this for free”.

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        It’s true that we tend to take open source and its maintainers for granted. It’s not fair to send criticism when things go wrong but not thanks when they go well. And of course it’s all provided for free.

        OTOH, it makes sense to be frustrated when the tools you depend on break.

        Rather than send an angry message, perhaps it’s better to consider whether using that set of tools and dependencies is a good choice?

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          Every tool in your toolbox has a reason for being there. And while every tool brings its own complexity, it hopefully abstracts away a much greater complexity as well.

          The only problem abstraction can’t solve…is too much goddamn abstraction.

          But those days are long gone now. He understands that modern web development requires that you use libraries and stand on the shoulders of giants. Perhaps too many giants.

          But Frank’s just getting started. By the time the project went live, his dependency list is a mile long. He’s now an addict and loves using open source libraries whenever he can.

          But without webpack, I would still be piping together 20 different gulp plugins and pretend like I understand what’s going on. And without gulp, I would still be maintaining a 1,000 LOC grunt config file. And without grunt, I would have to create and maintain my entire build process manually. You get the picture…

          I like how the answer avoided is “maybe you shouldn’t have so many dependencies.

          At least half of the libraries out there are basically just meant to address minor grievances in the way other libraries function. It’s stupid, and not really something we should support.

          Regardless of what anyone says, open source maintainers should be proud of the work they do. You can be proud of having the guts to put your best effort out there for all the world to see. And you can be proud of having the courage to say “Look I made I this, and I think you should use it.”

          I don’t think I would get praise for having the courage to leave my discarded toilet paper on the front lawn so people could come by if they perchance needed one.