Professional maintainers: wake up call

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(Bolding added) => “We don’t know what we’re doing”.

2.2.2. Staffing
Staffing refers to how to attract and keep soft-
ware maintenance staff. Maintenance is not often
viewed as glamorous work. As a result, software
maintenance personnel are frequently viewed
as “second-class citizens,” and morale therefore

[^1]:P. Bourque, R. E. Fairley, and IEEE Computer Society, Guide to the software engineering body of knowledge. 2014.

The term, “Open Source” appears just once in SWEBOK => It’s not an engineering principle, it’s a deeply politically motivated project backed by far right liberal ideology.

Source article:

Some comment threads with the author on Twitter:

Long comment on HN:

it feels weird to me to have a criticism of corporate behavior where corporations don’t know how to ensure the continued success of the commons they build on, and to title this that “Open Source” is broken.

If a bunch of hunters go out and shoot all the ducks to extinction, you don’t title an article that ducks have failed as a species, you say that duck hunting is a problem.

These are the two extremes — the demand that somehow all maintainers should professionalize to meet the needs of companies:

Volunteer developers should not need to learn how to set up an LLC or a nonprofit to get some compensation for their work if their work is important; the idea that compensation is dependent on a very specific model of professionalism and that it’s incompatible with people doing something as a hobby is just wrong.


That analogy is a false one. Duck hunting is a self-selecting, non-mandated recreational activity for privileged people, not an activity that forms a critical role in a global pro-business economy.

The correct analogy is:

If the law mandates the indiscriminate killing of animals, you don’t title an article that some animals have become extinct, you say that the indiscriminate killing of animals has caused the extinction event.

The given analogy misattributes the source of the harm based on proximate factors… in effect it’s saying ‘i didn’t kill the animal… the bullet from the gun I fired caused the animals heart to stop’ - it’s a VERY shoddy argument.

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Open-source is the problem.

So long as you give everything away for free, you can’t fault companies for not paying.
Why would they?

Don’t get mad at them just because you’re too foolish to concern yourself with your own well-being.

It’s not the fault of the predator if the prey wants to get eaten.

I believe in the commons, but Open Source is a failed methodology for developing and distributing the commons.

What we needs is a better alternative for a post open-source future.

Keep sending those invoices. Only a fool would ever send you back a dime…


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Read through this, finally. Especially appreciated the point on “legibility”. Be a company. Send an invoice.

I read James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State in the past few years, too. But I’ve had better luck with the word “payability”. As in: “If you want money from companies, you must be company-payable.” “If you want money from big enterprises, you must be enterprise-payable.”

I have definitely seen some devs paid on invoices for “support” and “sponsorship”, without too much detail. But I do think that runs into the “what exactly are we paying you for?” problem that Filippo himself mentioned about maintainers on corporate payroll. When you’re talking about companies—often small startups headed by devs—who already want to pay you, and maybe to pay you whether you actually do anything extra for them or not, just labeling yourself an LLC and labeling the transaction a contract can do it. But I don’t think that helps any driving demand among other potential customers. It won’t get past big-company procurement processes with all kinds of controls to keep people disguising graft as legitimate contracts.

I sent the author an e-mail. See what I can do for him.