Dear open source users,
If the author of your favorite open source app has announced they stopped developing and supporting the app (because they're frustrated and possibly burned out), please don't suggest they do more free work so that you can continue using the app.
Instead, consider thanking them for their past work and let them know that you enjoyed their app.
another open source developer
@cketti Yes. And also: If the tool they built mattered to you, maybe not just move along trying to look for "another alternative" but actually trying to figure out how to keep that alive, how to revive, fork, maintain, fund, ... a process that keeps this project from fading away because the lead developer had to pull out of it? In the end, a lot of this current dispute feels much more like consumerism than real "FLOSS community". 😟
@cketti @z428 Well, it has a bit more layers than that. First, the user might not be aware of the risks. The license is not enough IMHO, after a certain adoption threshold, if the readme doesn't communicate the (lack of) support or stability, then the fault partially lies with the project lead(s).
It's like feeding birds. If they get used to it and then you take away the bird feeder on a whim, it's not the bird's fault. Obviously that's an exaggeration, but hopefully you get what I mean.
@csepp @z428 Developers generally don't trick people into depending on their software. If you do depend on it, that was your choice. If you didn't foresee that the software might be abandoned at some point, that's on you. Really, that's not specific to FOSS at all.
But with open source software you at least still have the source code and can continue development (or pay someone to do it for you).
> that's on you
I find that assigning blame is less useful than trying to figure out how to avoid the problem. 🤷
No one claimed anyone is being tricked, the point I was trying to make (maybe badly), is that it's possible to communicate issues in advance, before they pile up.
And yup, it's not specific to FOSS, all projects should be transparent about their sustainability. That only reinforces that issues should be communicated in advance, whatever their nature may be.
> That only reinforces that issues should be communicated in advance, whatever their nature may be.
You're asking for people who already basically work for free to do even more work, so that you aren't inconvenienced too much.
I'd say you can certainly hope for that, but you shouldn't expect it, much less demand it.
Adding a simple sentence to a readme is not a lot of effort. 🤷
Nor is writing a short "hey i'm having difficulties, don't expect a new release any time soon".
And no, that's not why I'm asking. *I* understand software development. A random person who downloads [insert software name] from a repo (or even from an official project page) might not. I hoped that was clear.
Devs and users alike are not exempt from societal norms or having to communicate and listen.
IMHO preventing contributor burnout is a more important problem than treating it after it already happened, simply because prevention is nearly always the better solution to any given problem.
If the dev feels like they are expected to do free work, they can lessen the expectation by telling their users they can't work on the project, instead of working on the project until they burn out.
@hypolite ... projects driven exclusively by individual volunteer enthusiasts in their spare time) and/or try to strive for actually _getting_ to a point where this sustainability is even possible. Like: What would it take to make FairEMail, Friendica, Pleroma, Diaspora, ... more "sustainable" than, in example, Twitter or Flickr that have been around for 10+ years...? 2/2
@hypolite How did we manage to get things such as Wikipedia, Debian or larger GNU/Linux distributions to "fly"? Of course at least Linux, too, is suffering from fragmentation and having way too many different "just because" - reimplementations of virtually everything, but maybe in the last couple of years we just unlearnt how to focus on shared goals? I'm not sure here, and maybe this sounds more harsh than it is intended to, yet still it feels quite ... weird.
@witchescauldron I'm not really sure, to be honest. Not even sure which side to start with... Maybe the FLOSS movement has aged poorly because some of its ideas and approaches don't work that well anymore in days of #surveillancecapitalism? Maybe, worse, current FLOSS to quite some point has even made ethically disputable business models possible in the first place?
@hypolite @heluecht @z428 @witchescauldron @cketti
re: "Do what you can"
That's pretty much what I said, just focused on the communication aspect. 🙃
Like you said, "do what you can" should also be taken to apply to non-code contributions, including writing docs, helping out on issue trackers, and keeping the community healthy. If it improves things, it's worth doing.
@hypolite @heluecht @z428 @witchescauldron @cketti That's where guidelines come in handy. In my eyes, it's not much different than adding a CoC, or using issue templates. It just makes things smoother at very little cost to the contributors.
If just jumping head first into the project and not managing expectations leads to burnout, then I don't understand the opposition to preventing that, especially if the dev's enjoyment of their work is so important.
@hypolite @heluecht @z428 @witchescauldron @cketti
If that much communication leads to decision paralysis, we could write some templates. It's like licenses. 99% of devs just use an existing one and there are several tools that help them choose.
This could be that simple. Think the mood setting on Deviantart updates, if you've used that. Just put an emoji in the commit message or something. 🤷
There are definitely better solutions than the status quo.
@hypolite @heluecht @z428 @csepp @cketti an interesting example of the #geekproblem trying to solve the geek problem. The is no way out of this mess, trust me I have been working at social technology for 20 years.
If your interested in doing this then this book is a good step https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.101521/2015.101521.The-Sciological-Imagination_djvu.txt
@hypolite Been reading the thread and felt like having not much to add, but feel conflicted here, talking internal vs external burnout: What happens to a FLOSS developer if external forces start "pushing" you? Like, in case of FairEMail, Google demanding certain criterias to be met before an application gets approved to the store? Or F-Droid doing the same, just more transparent in a different direction? Or, in other cases (GDPR ...), external ...
@hypolite ... entities starting to enforce compliance with certain rules, not all out of shady reasons? Is there a risk of FLOSS "spare-time" developers burning out once they reach a point where things _have_ to be done and end up being annoying and tedious work rather than self-rewarding fun? What's the motivation of getting FLOSS across this mental line then?
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