cwebber.net

Random thoughts about life, ops, dev, and management

Why I Suck at Open Source

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I love the idea behind open source and can’t imagine my career without the amazing contributions of so many people, but can’t help but feel that I don’t pull my own weight. I see amazing people in Ops like John Vincent (@lusis) and James Turnbull (@kartar) that are constantly shipping code and am reminded that I am not doing the same.

No matter how much I tell myself I need to push more code out into the world, I am regularly reminded that not only am I not great at writing good code, I don’t have the prerequisite knowledge about patterns and structure. To add insult to injury, the problems I find the most interesting are rarely general problems. The problems I find myself working on in my spare time are those internal issues that we can’t justify spending time on at the moment because there is so much else going on. So even if I am writing code, it either can’t be open sourced because it isn’t general enough, or I am too embarrassed to ask management to let me open source it.

When Packer was released it was a blast to have some time to go play with it. The bummer was that all I seemed able to do was report bugs and test to make sure they had been fixed. Every time I dug into the source code I found it difficult to make useful modifications to help solve problems. While I am usually able to read and help do basic code debug, I rarely find myself in a place where I have enough knowledge to make changes and contribute back.

While I know that evangelizing software and reporting bugs is useful and very much a part of open source, it is a bummer that I never seem to be able to get a Pull Request right.

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