Kiss The Ring...

February 07 2012 Opinion

... In which we reflect on my ego-mania and just how in the dark Enterprise Devs using OSS really are...

Hadi Hariri,

reflecting on the "Submit a Patch" attitude:>If youre working on OSS, youre doing it because you are benefiting from it. You benefit because you enjoy it. You benefit because you learn. You benefit because you potentially can rise to fame (albeit a micro-celebrity), and you benefit because it can ultimately provide you with potential consulting and training opportunities. Nobody owes you anything for working on OSS!

So if I get this right,

the whole idea of Open Source: that a community can come together as a group to build something of common interest as opposed to paying a Big Corporate Entity with an Agenda - is secondary to my own ego?

I think Hadi has a reasonable point - that maybe some OSS leaders can be a tad aggressive (myself included). Especially when the code is offered in an email instead of a patch and there's no way to Diff what they've done and no test to prove it fixes anything and it turns out it doesn't and I've just wasted hours of my time AGAIN and then I get to try and have an ego battle with the person who sent the email when I ask where the tests are.... Ahem. Yeah that can make people grumpy... beside the point really. I hear this kind of thing a lot with the various projects I've run up over the years. I've gotten into many scraps, as you can imagine :). I used to think it was just .NET - but it's not. It's everywhere. Something for Hadi to consider is that I

Open Source (just about) everything because I think there's value to sharing my code and endeavors. Any "fame" or "notoriety" I have achieved has zenithed a while ago - it's just my habit to share what I think is interesting. But I still keep pushing the stuff out. And I find it a little offensive that someone would straight up tell me I do it because I "seek fame and money". I wrote Massive because I wanted to - and it seemed like fun. Same with the Highrise and MadMimi API Wrappers, same with Manatee, same with all the stuff in my repository. Ask anyone who's actually authored something and they'll probably tell you the same thing:

I did it because it needed to be done.

To be honest I think Hadi's whole article is a sad reflection of the current attitude rampant in the .NET community (though also present in other communities as well): that somehow we're all trying to become rich and famous and climb the ranks. This positions Open Source projects as "egoware" and is more than a bit damaging when you consider that it's actually thwarting efforts. What a loss. And that might sound exceedingly arrogant of me to say - as if it's some great privilege to work on one of my projects. But I actually mean the opposite:

the privilege is all mine . I met some amazing programmers along the way:

**Scott Watersmasysk*

helped me write up many of the first parts of SubSonic

**Eric Kemp*

was a champion and a hero who taught me a whole lot about programming with his help with SubSonic 2 and 3.

**J Sawyer*

taught me more about programming in a single summer than I have ever learned with his help on the Commerce Starter Kit

**Karl Seguin*

was patient and kind with his BSON work and NoRM - and showed me a thing or two about Mongo and socket programming

**Rob Sullivan*

took some of his time to show me some whip-crack SQL with Massive (and continues to do so)

The list goes on - the point being that it's not my ego that's the neat part, it's working in an ad-hoc group towards a mutual goal. That, my friends, is the power of Open Source.

In The Land of The Blind....

Hadi, reflecting on OSS in the Enterprise (emphasis mine):

However, we need to look at ourselves and see how much of this

low adoption

of OSS that were so passionately fighting for

is our fault.


we expect

all the users of our projects to

know how to work with our source control or compile the source and deal with dependencies, submit patches or work with our testing framework, all were doing is raising the entry barrier to OSS.

Before shouting that Im stereotyping OSS projects, Im not. Im well aware that there are amazing projects out there with beautiful and thoughtful teams and communities around them that make many commercial support alternative envious. However, Ive seen the submit a patchattitude often enough, over the many years Ive been involved in OSS to warrant mentioning it.

One of the more condescending things I've read in a while. I'm not arguing the point that many Enterprise Devs are more than a bit behind - but I think Hadi put that whole stereotype on another level.

Before shouting that Im stereotyping OSS projects, Im not.

Of course not. We're all ego maniacs and Enterprise Devs don't know what source control is.