On Irritability in Open Source

I was a bit irritable in my writing yesterday — this is because a handful of users of my software on GitHub were doing a few things, that I, surprisingly, haven’t really come across before:

They were:

This stressed me the fuck out.

I’ve been managing very popular open source libraries for years, and I’ve never encountered energy like this before in my interactions with users. Why is that?

Well, Pipenv is the first project I’ve undertaken that is a package manager — which is a very different beast than, say, an HTTP library, or a SQL library. Those are clearly optional tools, and while I argue that Pipenv is equally an optional tool (the world was getting by fine without it for a long time) — there’s this feeling that some interacting users have that’s sort of fight or flight, taking things overly seriously, and making demands that simply can’t be met.

These people need to realize that this is simply a tool, made by some people for fun, to enhance the lives of others, and if they want to see sweeping changes made to the way it works and operates, they’re going to have to step up and offer to make those changes themselves.

There’s a strange demand for my approval of direction before code will be submitted by these individuals. They don’t want to “waste their time” contributing code that may not be accepted.

It’s important to remember — it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission, especially in open source projects. That means, go and write the changes you want to see, and submit them. See if they stick. If they don’t, no loss. You can always use the code you wrote, and so can others. The only way to move forward is to move forward. This thought of all things must be discussed at length before any action is taken is absolutely exhausting, and simply false.

Much respect goes out to Donald Stufft for being able to tolerate these types of interactions on a weekly (daily?) basis. Seriously.

Thoughts & Musings: a (Public) Journal

A collection of hand-written essays by Kenneth Reitz.