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Are Open Source Software maintainers supported by their companies? #OpenSource #Software #Maintenance @JessFraz

An interesting Twitter thread by Jessie Frazelle explores those software developers who, as part of their jobs, maintain open source software for use by the whole community:

It seems like for open source maintainers a lot of the jobs at big companies lead the maintainers to want to add “value” for the company & therefore sometimes ditch their original mission since they feel (unconsciously) unaligned with the company values and priorities.

It seems to me (and from personal experience) no company is doing this well except startups where the mission is the project and in the case of docker it made no money anyways.

Big companies even don’t do well at this (I also know from experience) and that’s where the real money is… sad to see. Who will pay the maintainers who don’t add new features but the keep the projects afloat, the project infrastructure afloat, and lasting and of quality…?

The metric of “project advancement’ and “lines of code” don’t seem to translate to Open Source – how can these developers be evaluated at their companies?

You almost need to isolate them off from the rest of the company. At docker, we called this “the firewall”.

“The firewall” needs to be a person with balls, doesn’t need to be a man, I’m just saying they need metaphorical balls.

In the best case scenario it’s actually the CTO so the maintainers feel aligned by an executive.

Is the burnout of maintainers at large companies coming from overwork or a misalignment of values…? Perhaps a bit of both.

Anyways, anyone in my mentions saying this can’t be done well, I literally lived through it being done well. It’s possible.

Jessie gave a keynote on this very topic – suggested viewing:

Are you maintaining open source software as part of your job? Is it being done well (or not)? Post in the comments below.


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