Open Source Myths

By Deane Barker on December 22, 2003 Myths Open Source Developers Tell Ourselves [Dec. 11, 2003]: This is a painfully honest article. As wonderful as the open-source ideal is, it’s tough to come by.

Myth: Publicly releasing open source code will attract flurries of patches and new contributors.

Reality: You’ll be lucky to hear from people merely using your code, much less those interested in modifying it.

I originated one open-source project several years ago. I actually got some decent help, but I wasn’t an experienced enough developer to capitalize on it. I didn’t have CVS running, and people were just emailing me code. There were two or three people who jumped in and helped out, but the dicsussion forums were rife with “I’d really like to see this…” posts from people who weren’t interesting in writing a single line of code.



  1. Sure, I spend all yesterday afternoon lauding open source projects, and here comes Deane to take a crap on Linus Torvalds’ lawn. =)

    All kidding aside, this is a pretty good article. It’s not so much against open source, but it’s more to the point of offering suggestions for doing open source right.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I do know that I have submitted bug fixes to projects where I had the know-how to do so. And, if people are making suggestions in the forums, it means that they are trying to use the product. Some folks may not have the technical know-how to add features, but they can collectively help point you to which direction the project should be going in.

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