antirez 27 days ago. 111810 views.
A new idea is insinuating in social networks and programming communities. It’s the proportionality between the money people give you for coding something, and the level of demand for quality they can claim to have about your work.

As somebody said, the best code is written when you are supposed to do something else [1]. Like a writer will do her best when writing that novel that, maybe, nobody will pay a single cent for, and not when doing copywriting work for a well known company, programmers are likely to spend more energies in their open source side projects than during office hours, while writing another piece of a project they feel stupid, boring, pointless. And, if the company is big enough, chances are it will be cancelled in six months anyway or retired one year after the big launch.

Open source is different, it’s an artifact, it’s a transposition in code of what you really want to do, of what you feel software should be, or just of all your fun and joy, or even anger you are feeling while coding. And you want it to rock, to be perfect, and you can’t sleep at night if there is a fucking heisenbug. So if a user of your software is addressing you because some part of your code sucks, and is willing to work with you to do something about it, and is very demanding, don’t think they are abusing you because they are not paying you. It’s not about money. You can ignore bugs if you want, and ignore their complains, you can do that since you don’t have a contract to do otherwise, but they are helping you, they care about the same thing you care: your software quality, grandiosity, perfection.

The real right you have, and often don’t exploit, is that you are the only one that can decide about the design of your software. So you are entitled to refuse a pull request, or a proposal to follow good practices, because you feel that what somebody is contributing does not fit in the big picture of what you are designing and building.

But if you recognize that somebody is talking you about something that is, really, a defect in your software, don’t do the error of reducing the interaction to a vile matter of money. You are doing work for free, they are risking their asses deploying what you wrote, you both care about quality.

EDIT: If you write OSS and you are upset about user demands, have you ever thought that maybe, at this point, your work is more similar to office work for some reason?

EDIT 2: A HN user asked the reasons for such title. The paradox is that the OSS writer cares and is often willing to fix code she writes for free, more than the other paid work she does.

[1] "The best programs are the ones written when the programmer is supposed to be working on something else." - Melinda Varian. https://twitter.com/CodeWisdom/status/1309470447667421189
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