I know how much I am going to write will enough open supporters of Open Source software, but it is a problem that is manifesting itself almost everywhere, and shows the way in which Open Source is being used to have taaanto, taaaanto underpaid work, or free.
There are many examples, but I would like to mention one. It is a person who writes a rather used open source software, a balancer that uses an IP Cluster technique.
Let's see what he writes.
In practice, it is happening that companies are limited to developing interfaces. Everything that runs on the backend, today, is considered free. Do you want Docker? Pouf, Docker is free! Do you want a database? Here are dozens of free opensource! Do you want a webserver? Here's caddy, nginx, apache httpd, all for free! Do you want Kubernetes? Puf, Kubernets is free. Do you want MetalLB? Pouf, it's free. Do you want a server operating system? Pouf, Linux aggratise.
The problem is that the business world comes from a situation where working for free does not mean "I should be grateful to those who do it, and maybe give them something", but "he chose to be my slave, what a fool he is, but since he is my slave I have the right to whip him like all the other slaves who work for me ".
Despite all the claims of wanting to be "ethical" and wanting to "look after the well-being of the employees", in the end the companies have almost all remained at a slavery paradigm, and this is emerging in the OSS world.
In practice, it happens that the developers of Open Source software dedicate free time to the software; given that they plan as a hobby or as a passion, they must also live. So if they can do things today, if they can't do them tomorrow, and if they are in a hard time they do it next week.
Companies, on the other hand, have deadlines to meet. Consequently, if they use an OSS product and find a bug, they would like it to be resolved within the deadlines they have. But the developer of Open Source, not being paid, can also safely wait for free time, and if he takes a sabbatical year everyone will wait for his sabbatical year.
The software developer is right.
If you choose to use an opensource product for your company, in fact, it is due diligence by the Project Manager or Project Owner to take the risks into account. This is not a contractual issue, but a question of professionalism. If you decide to use a product, you must ask yourself what support it has.
Although you can get people in Silicon Valley by saying "great community support!" During a t-shirt presentation, when it comes to money, you need to make it clear what the SLA of the support you are. In the case of Kubernetes or Docker, to say, you can count on other companies and things go quite well. But in the case of a programmer (or a group) spending free time, then it becomes different. There is no contract between you and the "great community", and if your bug is considered unimportant, you wait. And you don't give a damn about your "precious" project.
What can a company do at this point?
- Offer money to the programmer. Maybe instead of insulting that person or sending him "friendly reminder", you could offer him some money if he gives you some priorities. But this, in the slave's logic of the "free work" of many companies, is not acceptable.
- Officially support the product. By always offering money, you can get the programmer to become "sponsored" by the company. This can be done in many ways, from donations, hiring the programmer (and turning his product into a supported product) or buying his small company.
- Hope a foundation is formed. So far there are situations in which free software is supported by "Foundations", which have voluntary financial support from heterogeneous sources, such as the Apache Foundation or the Document Foundation for LibreOffice.
- Buy the software if the programmer has also made its own source of advice. In that case the programmer has a company that mainly lives by consulting the opensource software it develops. As happened to Nginx with F5. However, if the company is not very large, its financial guarantees will not be sufficient for those who want to make very expensive projects, and therefore there is a need for a much more robust liability. In that case, everything is bought.
All these cases, however, have something in common: the programmer / creator of what makes money. And this is not good for a certain type of company, which instead understood Open Source as "stupid people work for you for free".
What is happening to the MetalLB programmer is emblematic, because in the end he is saying "here, sooner or later, I will send you all to fuck off and those who saw each other will see you".
What is happening is that people are beginning to bombard him with "I remember you amicably that there is such a thing to do," and he finally promised nothing, since this job he does for free.
It is not a strange phenomenon, and it is not the first time that someone abandons the project because it goes into "burnout". The burnout of SW OSS programmers is a fairly well-known phenomenon, and the causes also:
And it's not just something about programmers:
But where does this attitude towards Open Source programmers come from?
The truth is that it is the reflection of what is becoming the normal life of programmers in Silicon Valley. As soon as everything was "financed", the mentality of the financiers arrived, and the result is this:
The truth is that today Silicon Valley is dominated by Venture Capital, that is, by people who divide the world into two categories:
- Those who work for money.
- Those who have the money working for them.
If you are in the first category, you can dream of any right, and however much you pay, you will be deprived of such a quantity of life that no paid amount will ever be able to compensate you. People with a financier mentality do not despise anyone who works for money, and appreciate only those who make money work for themselves. For them, the life or health of a programmer is NOTHING.
This concept is unclear when you are in a country that has free universal health, so health is seen as a zero value: if it costs nothing to heal, health is worth nothing. But if you live in the US, where COSTA is healthy, you will immediately realize that a burnout or another type of mental / physical disability can cost you so much that you should earn MILLION dollars a year to compensate for the risk. Because you risk reducing yourself this way: in the silicon valley, life costs so much that a period without work is enough and you are like that.
And this is where we have to start to understand something:
having devoured incomes in any other sector, the world of finance slavers is casting its eyes on the last category of workers still well paid. Those of IT.
Maybe they didn't understand how liquid this world is, and maybe they didn't understand that a person can, like the MetalLB programmer is thinking of doing, send them to shit right away and live well anyway: and we're talking about the world of OSS .
Fortunately, the MetalLB community will still rely on this product, but the point is that the burnout phenomenon is becoming more pronounced among programmers, and in hindsight we could ask ourselves what really happened to Linus Torvalds … and if anyone really he realizes the risks of burnout sending open source parts that are "difficult to replace".
If you lose MetalLB, well, it's something replaceable. Moreover, the same kubernetes is the most terrible mass of useless complications that history has ever conceived since the time of Multics located in Etrusco, so it is not then a very serious loss.
It becomes quite relevant to remember what happened in the period around 2000, when Torvalds took care of the kernel much less than usual. He had become an unpredictable shit. Many will feel comforted by the fact that the linux kernel is now a corporate issue (Microsoft contributes 20-25% of the patches), but the governance problem remains: what do you do if Linus sends you to mass shit?
Do you find yourself with an IBM-Redhat / Microsoft / Google / Canonical OS?
This assault on the OSS, and in general for the world of software development, will end soon, but for other reasons.
The point, however, is different.
There is no reason why a person should lose their health for the job, and the point is that almost none of the programmers are forced to do so. Because the point is that if you are one who wants to get to the top of the top of the top maybe you also want to risk your health, but if you are someone who wants to live, you can always work for a normal software house, and send those countries to that gentlemen: the software demand is so big today that nobody is really under blackmail.
So, if you're doing OSS, my advice is: either wait as long as you need, or PAY your time.
You don't have to answer "this software is for free, so you should be a bit less pushy". The answer should be: "this is the free support I offer. If you want more, here is THE PRICE ".
Until the world splits' between fools who work for money, fools who work for pleasure and clever who make money work for themselves', clearly the smart ones will make the clever more and more '. Until we get them out of the way by replacing them with some software:
So, it's time for people to start working for money. Where "for money" means "for MANY money". It is not possible for a company to ask you to remedy a defect in a software you do for pleasure, without even considering paying.
For one reason: for a small Product Owner or a small Project Manager, breaking the fuck is "work". If you ask him for money, it becomes a problem that is part of his budget. And if it is part of his budget, the fact that he has not assessed the risks of an OSS solution will become obvious.
Just save your ass from the managers. When they make mistakes, they have to crash.
Otherwise we will no longer be able to complain that the managers are dickheads: if we continue to save them at the expense of time, free work and health, there will never be natural selection in their field. It is time for the manager to mistake helmets: if you have not budgeted money to solve the bugs of the Open Source software you use, you fail your sprint, the next one, and take the consequences.
Because everything comes from PM and PO of shit. Who believe that work is free, because for those who admire the work is worth nothing, and those who work for money is just a fool to despise.