2 high quality reads on challenges in open source

Blog post on what a sustainable open source project looks like- https://medium.com/libraries-io/what-does-a-sustainable-open-source-project-look-like-bf9b8cf824f8

Essay on the unseen labour behind the digital infrastructure that supports the world including how open source fits in - https://www.fordfoundation.org/media/2976/roads-and-bridges-the-unseen-labor-behind-our-digital-infrastructure.pdf

I think this will spark some interesting discussions.


The report is really long, but I can very much relate with the findings. Running open source projects is extremely complex and hard and thankless. But people will still continue to contribute and build amazing stuff in public because there is something fundamentally right about it.

Maintaining a project and ensuring the team gets paid can be extremely exhausting. There are so many people, things, activities that need attention and there are not enough people who are willing to do the “heavy lifting” of getting things done.

Ultimately the entities that benefit from open source, specially highly profitable ones should fund such projects. Good open source is art, and it needs patrons to support it.


Open source being like art is a very interesting analogy!

I am currently operating a free (though not open source) Excel to Tally ERP9 data import website (here if anyone is interested) and I am often asked by users to add various features. Honestly this is fine and I am happy to incorporate stuff that benefits a large number of people, but what bugs me sometimes is the entitlement with which some users ask for “results” immediately or in a few hours!

I then gently explain that I will get to it when time permits from my other paid projects. I also offer them the option of paying for the feature to be done on priority if its so urgent to them, but no one has taken me up on that yet :slight_smile:.

Other users are nice enough to send a note on how the tool has helped them save hours of otherwise tedious data entry work. So really the world is made up of all kinds of people!