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    Interesting article, however to me this everything that is wrong with open source software, in the good old days (and still around 50% of the time now) open source software (and contributions) come around when people need to solve X problem, and opensourcng your work is a great way to help others, then usually if the code is found to be useful (or in demand) then contributors join in, and before you know it you have some code you wrote to help you out on a project, working for thousands of users in ways you never expected.

    “Necessity is the mother of invention” is a very fitting statement for open source (in my opinion). Creating software for a problem you don’t have (or that doesn’t exist) seems very counter productive, this whole attitude of wanting to create an open source project for “Internet points” absolutely perplexes me. If you want to help the open source community there are thousands of projects that would love the help.

    Marketing open source software? I mean put it on Github with a decent readme and a search engine will take your potential users there, however if you created some software for a problem that doesn’t exist, don’t expect too much traffic.

    Testing is a good point, but usually in smaller scale open source projects (or single maintainers) you write the code to solve a problem you have, maybe there are a few tests, but to me if I found a piece of software that did what I wanted, and had no tests, I would just write my own tests, we have so many users of open source software now that just seem to moan or log issues when it doesn’t work for them, when in reality they should be sending pull requests (or diffs if you took your dinosaur to work) saying “hey, cool project, I used it but noticed you had no tests, I creating the following, hope this helps”. However, I can count on my hand the amount of times I have seen pulls/diffs like this.

    I have gone off on a bit of a tangent, but hey.

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      What part of the OP, exactly, implied that open source today is all about “Internet points”? Don’t you think that’s just a tad bit uncharitable of you?

      I also think your thoughts on testing for small single maintainer projects are way off the mark. I wouldn’t be able to maintain the projects that I do if I didn’t have tests. There would just be no feasible way. I would probably need an army of clones of myself working in concert to do it.

      I think basically everything else you said is off the mark too, speaking as someone that has been involved in open source since 2003 or so. I remember the “good old” days before Github, accessible CI, emphasis on docs and testing, etc., and frankly, we are in a much better state nowadays. I mean, those days sucked. Hard.

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        Add testing, documentation, build, distribution, marketing…

        Almost like they are building a product but without any plan for sustainability.

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          Could you unpack that? All of those things seem beneficial with respect to sustainability.

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            Spend hundreds of hours building something polished, lots of users show up asking for support and then burnout happens. Who maintains the maintainers?

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              If your goal is to release something that others use and to incorporate feedback from others, then testing, documentation, distribution and all that stuff improves the sustainability of the project.

              If you’re just looking to throw something over the wall and don’t care whether anyone uses it, then don’t polish it in the first place?

              Like, isn’t this whole thing trivially solved by just asking the simple question, “What problem are you trying to solve?” Instead, people seem intent on bantering about “Internet points.”

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                If your goal is to release something that others use and to incorporate feedback from others, then testing, documentation, distribution and all that stuff improves the sustainability of the project.

                This is contrary to every small OSS project I’ve ever seen. I’m speaking mostly of single person projects. Perhaps you are thinking of large, multi-person projects, e.g. Rails, Rust, etc but those usually have full-time people paid to work on the project. That’s the key bit to sustain it: a paycheck.

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                  Perhaps you are thinking of large,

                  Uh, no, I’m not. I’m speaking from my experience maintaining mostly small single person projects in my free time.

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                    Watch the “Uh”. It’s patronizing. Be kind.

                    At this point I’m not sure what we are discussing anymore so I’ll leave it here. We are likely looking in the same direction but with different angles.

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          wanting to create an open source project for “Internet points” absolutely perplexes me

          I think it’s money that has entered the equation, and “internet points” are just an indirect means. An upside is that now there’s an additional incentive to make things. A downside is that now there also is an additional incentive to advertise.