#142 Aaron Stannard, Sustainable Open Source Software

Summary
Aaron Stannard talks about the challenges facing the open source software world and how he thinks they can be addressed.

Details
Who he is, what he does, a little about Akka and the actor model. Aaron’s blogs on open source projects, burnout; Microsoft vs other software ecosystems; sustainable open source, being a victim of your own success, bug reports, feature requests, the aggression. What is the incentive to work on open source, making a little money from open source, sustainability and incentives. “No way are we paying for free software!”. Aggression and abuse. Optimism about OSS, examples of successful OSS ventures. How to find more from Aaron.

Links
Aaron's Twitter
Aaron's blog

Download mp3 of podcast

2 thoughts on “#142 Aaron Stannard, Sustainable Open Source Software

  1. This conversation really resonated with me. Aaron, you have a great point about alignment of incentives and I like your Petabridge model of selling training, conference workshops, etc.

    Speaking of alignment of incentives, I think there is one minor problem with the OSS revenue models you list in your blog post. Instead of being incentivized to work directly on the OSS code, which is the most important thing to users in the long run, maintainers are more incentivized to work on these tangential activities. Let’s say that schools suddenly close due to some external event (imagine that!), forcing you to stay home with children two or three days per week. Which type of work will you prioritize with your limited time? Will you continue making core improvements to the code, or will you move that to the back burner and keep the services business going?

    A few years ago I wrote an essay about this: https://wgross.net/essays/give-away-your-code-but-never-your-time . My ideas there are deeply unpopular and generated quite a few angry comments on Hacker News. For my proposal to work, there would have to be a massive cultural shift in the OSS world. I would love to know what you think.

  2. Hi William,

    > Instead of being incentivized to work directly on the OSS code, which is the most important thing to users in the long run, maintainers are more incentivized to work on these tangential activities.

    While that’s true, you’re still incentived to work on the OSS – it’s your marketing vehicle to your customers. That’s why I invest so much of my personal time and money into working on the source myself or hiring other people to work on it. If I let the OSS atrophy so does my revenue, eventually.

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