The number of open source projects around the world has grown exponentially in recent years, and a survey by SourceClear, an open source software security platform, predicts:

** The number of global open source projects will exceed 300 million by 2026; ** However, open source vs survival, how to choose?

This problem has been plaguing the industry, especially individual open source developers, for years.

Out of work for a long time due to illness, but still maintaining open source projects

Early in 2016, Nicholas C. Zakas, the original author of the JS Little Red Book, unfortunately contracted Lyme disease and was unemployed for a long time. He could not even work part-time.

For years, however, he maintained his open source project ESLint, a plug-in and configurable checker for JavaScript syntax rules and code styles, while out of work, without income, and suffering from a serious illness.

But he was forced to turn to GitHub for help, and hopes to be healthy and open source again sometime in 2020.

Realistic pressure on open source authors

Nicholas C. Zakas aside, many open source authors are still under pressure.

Bootstrap is an open source front-end framework developed by Twitter designers Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton.

Both Green Day and Barack Obama’s The White House used Bootstrap in their website design.

Bootstrap is popular for the following reasons:

1. Simple style

Anyone can use it for free

Jacob Thornton’s stress:

Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton maintained Bootstrap for nine years, making him want to escape:

Every week he and Mark Otto are bombarded with bug reports, feature requests, and praise;

In the evening, I had to spend 4-5 hours to manage Bootstrap and write new code.

While open source projects like Bootstrap or ESLint that persist even when the project maintainers are exhausted are a blessing, open source code abandonment is the worst thing that can happen.

Unable to insist, give up but lead to disaster

Two years ago, the author of the Event-Stream library, @Dominictarr, decided not to maintain the library due to lack of time and interest, and transferred the library to a complete stranger, @Right9Ctrl, who wanted to take it over. Right9ctrl used the open source code used by bitcoin to rewrite the library in an attempt to steal the cryptocurrency.

Since then, the author of the Event-Stream library, @Dominictarr, has been accused by a number of developers of handing over the package to a stranger. In response, @Dominictarr said the library was originally developed for fun, not altruism. But the developers put all the maintenance on me, and I didn’t get anything out of it, and the library was no longer interesting to me. Also, AT first I didn’t feel bad about @Right9Ctrl, thinking it was someone who really wanted to help me.

Where does the exhausted open source developer fit in?

Recently, New media Substack writer Nadia Eghbal spoke to hundreds of open source programmers for her book Working in Public.

From communication, Nadia Eghbal realized that writing and modifying code for open source projects requires a high level of collaboration.

In reality, while many developers participate in open source projects, they only make small contributions like fixing bugs and do not achieve the high level of collaboration required to maintain the project.

As a result, the maintenance of open source projects ultimately falls on the shoulders of a few people, who carry the same expectations and scrutiny as public figures, but who receive no material reward for doing so.

Studies show that about 9.5 percent of open source code has been abandoned, and about 25 percent of open source projects are likely to be abandoned soon. This trend is dangerous, not to mention the fact that code that no one maintains is vulnerable to serious damage, and can be exploited maliciously.

Open source is about people, not code!

Whether someone in a company can master the architecture of open source software itself, whether someone can influence the direction of the community, whether someone can adapt open source software to their own needs, and whether someone can continue to maintain the software when necessary are the most important issues to be concerned about.

Suppose one day a main developer divide suddenly announced that open source software is no longer open source, this time to look at other developers will be able to set up and have the ability to branch continued development and maintenance of the day before then then this software will be still can be used by people development, and gradually set partners have the ability to community reconstruction or rewrite a will not be a problem.

An active community of developers is the real guarantee for the use of open source software and the foundation for rapid innovation and development of society.

What is the status quo of domestic open source?

Domestic open source status:

(1) There is still no open source thinking in China, and it is still like the free software contributed on the major forums. It is based on asking for more, without communication. He does not say whether it is good or not, nor does he say what he changed, nor does he say if there is a problem.

(2) For those who have the ability to contribute code, most of the way to learn is to take it, without thinking, without feedback, and most of the way is that you have to do what I do, or you can’t do otherwise.

(3) There are many independent bosses who release software based on the purpose of obtaining subsequent benefits, but they lack open source management experience after they have fewer soldiers and enough hands.

(4) Domestic programmers do not have time to do open source, nor realize the importance of open source. Most are in the status of porters, work overtime every day to complete the company’s business code.

Difficulties of doing open source in China:

The rate of iteration of source software depends on how many people in the world are interested in the software.

A piece of software that is open source is easily closed source by large companies or others, iterates faster than you, optimizes better than you.

A few big guys, open source some good code. It is difficult to form a relatively large influence. Domestic open source projects that do well are basically geeks who develop excellent complete projects by their own ability. Apart from Ali, it seems that there are few open source projects involving company teams.

How does Daniel view open source?

A few months ago, Jia Yangqing, vice president of Technology of Alibaba, answered the question “How to view the current situation of open source in China” on Zhihu:

On the one hand, open source is driven by enthusiasm, but on the other hand, we must not starve Lei Feng. Therefore, we must have systematic ability to precipitate, have a good process, make everyone do open source resistance to do the least.

What we, who enjoy the fruits of open source code, may be able to do is what Amazon’s chief scientist Li Mu calls the “spirit of contract.”

I think the biggest thing is to have a spirit of contract: I invite you to use my fresh code, and I’ll answer your questions and help merge your code submission requests. This is also the “open source maintenance” mentioned in several answers.

Finally, where will open source developers be in the future, and how can the depletion of open source be reversed? This is something every open source needs to think about