Open Source is not Free Software

There is a big misconception, open source is not free software.

This post on Hacker News made me realize that better. Being an open source developer is hard.

Open source is an incredible thing. We all use it, but rarely think about what would happen if it were gone, probably you will be spending %90 of your time reinventing the wheel, we should be grateful for what we have now. But from the view of open source developers, they have expectations.

Companies do sometimes pay people to work on open source projects that they derive benefit from, but this shouldn’t be sometimes. Even when money does arrive for them, it tends to arrive too late, after the project is already proven. The ugliest part about this, most projects do not become popular enough to attract attention from funding sources, dozens of great idea ends up being abandoned.

If you start to get paid for your project, that’s good. But in the beginning, you should settle for large amounts of time to unpaid work. This is overwhelming for them, I can feel that.

Most of the open source developers are fabulously talented, probably could work for some top-level companies with big paychecks. Actually, this is exactly what happens in the end, well known open source developers (Armin Ronacher, TJ Holowaychuk, …) selects that path and ends up working for a company. When it comes the open source developers, companies in software industry should be more supportive than ever. After all GitHub stars doesn’t pay their rents.