The overwhelming majority of the people complaining about this are well-paid tech workers writing code for well-funded companies that profit off of open source code without providing any reciprocal value to the open source projects in return. (Of course, that statement isn't true for 100% of companies, but I'd guess that less than 10% of companies using open source code donate back to the open source projects they use)
Something about this whole debate makes me a bit uneasy.
You have people working mostly for free, developing open-source, FREE code that provides incredible value to the for-profit companies that use the open source code to generate (sometimes) massive amounts of revenue.
Given the amount of value open source provides to for-profit companies (with the open source maintainers rarely getting any reciprocal value from the companies that profit off them), why is it so alarming to think that these maintainers might think of a clever idea like this to make a couple thousand bucks?
I'm not arguing that npm install logs should be packed full of ads (it shouldn't).
But instead of attacking the guy for trying, I really wish the discussion were focussed on how the community of open-source consumers can contribute back to the open source ecosystem in a way that promotes the sustainability of the projects and community.
You're (possibly unintentionally) distorting/diverting the issue. Nobody is criticizing open source maintainers for trying to get funding in an abstract sense. (We can all agree open source maintainers need income.) However, if the concrete implementation of trying to get money is unwanted and unexpected ads, then the correct focus of discussion is the criticism of that ad delivery method. The succinct version of this is: "The ends do _not_ justify the means."
As hypothetical examples...
- If Pi-Hole maintainers get the "clever" idea to get funding by changing "doubleclick.net" from returning "127.0.0.1" to the ip address for "BuyPiholeTShirts.com", people are going to criticize that "ad". It doesn't matter if Pi-Hole volunteers "deserve" more money, the correct focus of criticism/discussion is the sneaky ip redirect.
The methods of soliciting funds do matter.
So far, socially acceptable ways seem to be Patreon, or getting hired by FAANG, or grants, etc. The "clever ideas" like NPM console ads are not socially acceptable.
That's clear as can be. He's asking the same question I am, how do we get sufficient funding for these projects. Re your patreon suggestion, I thought we recently had an article where someone got little to nothing on that.
> or getting hired by FAANG
So one way to support foss software is to get hired by a closed source company. Kind of defeats your point.
This is the problem right here, "I want but I'm not personally going to pay". We get ads (funding model of the modern web) or foss remains underfunded while non-foss companies get the cash they need. The problem is human nature. And yes, I've personally opened my wallet for them, and will again.
Please reread my reply to OP carefully and notice I did not say he endorsed NPM ads. Instead, I specifically disagreed with his suggestion to redirect the discussion away from the NPM ads to the general topic of open-source funding.
>He's asking the same question I am, how do we get sufficient funding for these projects.
To be clear, that's a different question and I wasn't even attempting to answer it. I mentioned funding like Patreon as examples of social acceptability and not as examples of income sustainability.
>Kind of defeats your point.
My point was a narrow one : others are criticizing the unwelcome ad solicitation and that's a correct area of focus.
The other question of how to get sustainable open-source funding is also an important topic -- but that doesn't mean it forbids discussion of unacceptable spam/ads. They can be 2 parallel discussions.
> However, if the concrete implementation of trying to get money is unwanted and unexpected ads, then the correct focus of discussion is the criticism of that ad delivery method
But he'd already said, prior to that
> I'm not arguing that npm install logs should be packed full of ads (it shouldn't).
He'd already said no to them; you're both in agreement. There's nothing to argue about.
Having agreed that nobody wants ads, the next step is to determine how to not have them (and their nastier big sibling, telemetry and malware, which will follow) by providing funding.
(edited for brevity)
This comment is not aimed at you specifically, but everyone in this comment thread who engages in this pointless arguing.
It doesn’t matter if they both agree that text ads are bad. It’s basically a “think of the children” derailment except it’s “think of the poor foss dev”.
Here everyone says they don't like ads; and then are shocked that people want to talk about why ads are showing up and what to do about that.
We don't. Only a fool would expect to make a living wage giving something away for free.
From the beginning FOSS has been either interested individuals or employees at corporations with a vested interest. There's no reason we should expect that John Q Developer independently working on a bunch of NPM modules to be compensated by the world at large.
With all due respect, I feel this is a lack of imagination. We could have said the same thing about soup kitchens, or basic income, or social welfare, or anything else that doesn't cleanly draw profit.
So yes, it doesn't work. At least not until we demand it does and distort the legal, social, and cultural frameworks around it.
As one solitary example, what about a shift to using copyfarleft licensing that only allows MIT-level freedom to nonprofits and co-operatives, while for-profit orgs pay fees instead of just leeching. This has the added bonus of shifting benefit to platform cooperatives, which governments are already starting to ideologically favour as we all see the gleaming metal edge of platform capitalism.
There are a hundred more options if we believe building the commons is better than milking it dry.
Those are all driven by charity for the destitute. It’s not meant to be a patronage paid to starving artists. On the contrary the able bodied are expected to not draw from that well if they can provide for themselves so that more remains for the truly deserving.
> So yes, it doesn't work. At least not until we demand it does and distort the legal, social, and cultural frameworks around it.
As one solitary example, what about a shift to using copyfarleft licensing that only allows MIT-level freedom to nonprofits and co-operatives, while for-profit orgs pay fees instead of just leeching. This has the added bonus of shifting benefit to platform cooperatives, which governments are already starting to ideologically favour as we all see the gleaming metal edge of platform capitalism.
There’s no such thing as partial BSD style licensing. You’re either all the way there or you’re not. Favored status to non profits is no different than discriminating from “evil” usage.
I’m not saying one can’t do that, just that there’s no half measures. I make it a point to contribute to BSD style software that I actually use and explicitly do not contribute to “shared source” bullshit.
> There are a hundred more options if we believe building the commons is better than milking it dry.
I don’t see anything going dry. The system has worked fine till now. What’s changed is the unrealistic expectation of hand outs for something you’ve already agreed to give away for free.
And for the larger discussion on building the commons I happen to think UBI is an important component. Focusing on the amateur work being done by the civil society at least, an UBI could be precisely the thing needed to free up time for cultivating the commons.
Now, granted, most UBI proponents do argue from a solidarity angle, and do think of it as some kind of charity. But I’ll offer an alternative view point. To me UBI is the foundation from which private property can be justified. Locke argued that commons, such as land, can only be taken as property when there is no contention, which is clearly not the case for anything having a market value. The just way to solve that conflict could be for the owner to simply pay the market value in rent to the commons, as compensation for the exclusive rights. Such payments could be divided as as an UBI. And I suspect it would also result i a pretty handsome amount. Enough to fund a few open source projects at least.
In the credible UBI plans I've seen, the income is Universal in the sense that "everyone gets a check", but in practice that income is paid for by those with middle or higher incomes, such that for many earners that "income" is a net tax (or neutral). "Charity for the destitute" is a bit hyperbolic, but its absolutely income supplementation for the less well off at the expense of those better off.
There are examples of large corporations hiring maintainers to work on open source and keep those projects open source. I believe pypi is an example of that.
I don't want to mention them in a public website in case that gets them in trouble.
You might be confused because they build on top of a Free foundation, and do contribute changes back to those layers. But the bulk of their activity is plainly closed, especially the software directly associated with their brands.
> decides to embed advertising such as "Try LINODE for 30 days!" in "README.md"
Are you trying to say that this is also not acceptable? Our company sponsors a few open source npm projects, and all of the projects we sponsor have our logo in the README.md - is that really not socially acceptable?
Not OP but I think it's acceptable. I'm happy to see my favourite free (as in freedom) projects' developers being supported. If someone doesn't like it and if it's truly free software then anyone can fork it to remove that ad and we don't have a problem. That's how free software works, if you can't, then it's not free software. If one just won't fork and opposes what a free software project does then that's just entitlement.
In the d3 example I tried to exaggerate the hypothetical intrusiveness of ads by embedding it in all the js source files.
In your specific case, if nobody is complaining about your ad inside of a single "README.md", I'm going to presume it's "acceptable".
I imagine the latter comes with a link, perhaps even a tracking one, to sign up for the service.
It's about as relevant as advertising gets, and it's not coming from a pool of clickbait ads. It's a developer using their open source work to generate interest in the work that pays for it.
If JetBrains, for example, wanted to remind me on the README for Kotlin that they have an IDE that works well with the language, that doesn't offend me.
Tracking the campaign? Yes, probably. But tracking you? How do you expect that to work?
Making ads contextual to the place they are and tracking the campaigns to discover what works and what doesn't is how it should be done.
Yes they're very good at providing speech and debate lip service about wanting to sustain OSS devs, but then when we actually want to do anything except hold out a tip jar they treat OSS devs like trash. The person that wanted to throw people in prison didn't seem particularly interested in our ability to get funding https://twitter.com/kyledrake/status/1166801737534984192
Every method of funding open source either doesn't work or is unwanted, so arguments like "get paid, just not this way" are disingenuous. When that guy tries a different approach instead of ads, people will be attacking him just as much.
It's time to move the discussion on to "all possible funding methods are unpalatable, so what's the least bad method?"
What I don't see is the fairness argument. Developers have legal means to restrict commercial use of their software. The community has for decades had a conversation about licensing and none of this is new territory.
These developers chose to volunteer their time to corporations. If they don't like that choice they should change their behavior not make demands of others.
Otherwise it's just the high tech equivalent of the common street scam where somebody hands you an object and then demands a donation if you take it.
Not so, these developers chose to volunteer their time to benefit the commons, and corporations occupy the same spaces once in a while. Whether or not there are abusive companies who stake out those projects for rent-seeking, to build walled gardens of their own, looting the commons making money for themselves and giving nothing back, is really not a function of the person who did something good for everyone's benefit.
We shouldn't be asking the person who is doing the good thing to change, friend! Reciprocity is an evolutionarily acquired trait, and while you can't count on favors to be repaid all of the time, anyway this is not a requirement in order for us to benefit from reciprocity.
Students of psychology have understood this as one of the favorable characteristics of human behavior which enabled us to survive up to this point. The idea that you can give someone something and receive something bigger in return, while both parties benefit, has been a part of community building for as long as humans formed communities. I would like to share this Sandi Metz talk about it in case you have an hour and want to hear more, I'm not the student of Psychology and didn't make this stuff up myself:
> You're Insufficiently Persuasive by Sandi Metz
It actually is, that's my point. The developers knew there were licensing arrangements that guarded against that possibility, and they chose licenses specifically designed to allow such looting.
Reciprocity is great. But if you license your code in a way that says "Feel free to take this and make money off it and give nothing back" when there are other options, then you made that decision and there is no obvious fairness argument that somebody should be punished for doing what you granted them license to do.
People have evolved to trust in reciprocity, because it's to our mutual benefit as a society that reciprocity remains a thing, and behaviors which are pathologically exploitative of this evolved trust in reciprocity are fully in the wrong. We decided it and made laws about it, something like 30 years ago. I learned this watching the keynote myself, and was surprised (as it actually hasn't stopped, in spite of legal protections which you might assume put a permanent end to the practice, to the contrary there are still monks handing out little plastic bracelets outside of the Smithsonian in DC, and no shortage of people who are not wise to it, with the $20 to spare.)
If the next generation of developers can't anymore trust in reciprocity and they have to decide on non-free licenses as a result of these companies which plainly don't understand reciprocity, we will all have lost something profoundly important. (And if we assume these companies and their behavior is purely exploitative now, what makes you think a legal machination like non-permissive licensing is going to have more success at getting them to stop doing that? You might have more avenues for recourse, but at what cost...)
It's not about fairness or punishment, it's about protection of our shared mutual benefit via social cues, and we can exile or something like exclude them from polite society if they are not well-behaved. From the receiving end it might look like a punishment, but I prefer to think of it more like as "corrective prodding" or "defensive posturing," and if it works the bad behavior will change, or if it doesn't, then hopefully at least the blast radius can be well-contained.
There are corporations which have learned to behave more thoughtfully and in harmony with OSS, who made a point to be aware of their community footprint, and sure plenty of such individuals too. Those who are not well-behaved can either hopefully see the light, or maybe there's no hope remaining, they will totally take over, and complete the tragedy of the commons. I submit humbly that we should not degrade the commons though as a response to their influence, because even with the bad actors around and their bad behavior, the facts show that our innate understanding of reciprocity is mostly still a beneficial trait, worthy of keeping around.
I've yet to see an original monetization suggestion in these threads. People have tried it all. Companies and devs prefer to wait for a poor sap to make a free-as-in-beer version and then stiff them on tips.
A hub of software, like github or npm could acts as a general mediator of funding. A new license could be designed such that entitles above a certain size would have to donate a percentage of revenue to the hub, while also reporting which software they which to license (this only acts as a kind of voting for where to place investments, the donation size is fixed). The hub in question could then spend the income on the various projects taking popularity in account for prioritzation.
But that way, you're still likely funding your project through ad scumbaggery, you're just adding a layer of indirection.
I do think that instead of everyone putting in an "ad dependency" is not the best way to go about it, but to at least directly negotiate with cloud companies to do it would be awesome.
If people are financially burdened by making their project open-source; then don't make it open source. Donating something to the community and then getting offended when nobody reciprocates is disingenuous. It's part of the problem with "freemium" software these days where developers think I should be indebted to them for eternity because they did something with no ROI in sight. That's not my problem! There were 100,000,000 developers before you who had to write the ISA, the compiler/interpreter, the OS, the firmware in every device... If I gave each one a nickle I'd be in worse shape than you are.
Sure, it's possible to turn a profit making open-source software. If that's a goal you have then buckle up because it's not a smooth ride. I liken it to being a starving artist. It's not for everyone, so if you already bitch about being hungry all the time maybe you should just look into a day job instead.
That's the problem - nobody treats being an independent OSS dev as a possible career, so we either get 1) extremely privileged people that have the significant amount of time and resources required to contribute substantially for no payment, 2) open source that serves to promote a corporate goal, and 3) less and lower quality hobby contributions because the rational people realize they're doing free work to get treated by garbage by people that feel entitled to free-as-in-beer software and choose not to do that.
Imagine how much worse any industry would be if nobody got paid for doing it. Now imagine how much better the OSS ecosystem would be if more people could make a living doing nothing but OSS on their terms. That's the goal here. We want to transform OSS from a starving artists realm for privileged people to a place where people can make careers. I'd be totally cool to see some dev-focused ads to make that happen.
At the end of, donations don't work and open source is being fairly well sustained if people seek employment or start a business: https://www.aniszczyk.org/2019/03/25/troubles-with-the-open-...
This is largely my position. I view contributing code to open source projects almost as altruism. I don't expect compensation or reward, and I do it out of a general feeling of wanting to contribute something unselfish to the world. The fact that some open source projects are important is a secondary concern; I know I don't consider any of my FOSS code to be important to many people other than myself.
That said, my primary income comes from working on proprietary closed-source software. I don't think I've ever interviewed for a position with a company that contributes most of its code to FOSS, so I've really never seen that model work in-person.
No it's my donation I'll donate where I want. If I find joy in donating to a small oss dev instead of a strategic donation to a well organized large one then that's what I do.
* Operating system
* Code versioning
* Container system
You could donate to all of those projects, but there's no moral imperative to visit them all in order of importance, just because they all played a part.
A permissive license is permission to behave otherwise, and just like Open Source contributions are made voluntarily, your support in kind should be on a voluntary basis too.
I only donate to obscure Debian derivatives though, so...
Are you asking whether it is ethical to do something that the authors have explicitly said is OK?
The problem is that there's an increasingly influential movement in the software engineering community to shun not only proprietary software, but also several alternative revenue models (such as "software as a service") that use open-source code. If you're part of this movement, then making money off of donations to open-source software is one of only two known, viable ways to be paid to write code (with the other being paid support contracts).
I am not part of this movement, only attempting to provide you with some additional context that might explain some of the opinions you see here.
Well, I have been giving them more than just a nickel since the late 80's, and still doing pretty ok.
Giving away software for free and then using adware to make up the difference is something else entirely.
If someone wants to make money with developing software, they have many many ways of doing that. Framing this as poor starving software developers getting the shaft by for-profit companies is a huge mis-representation of the situation. No one is chained to their desk and forced to produce NPM packages.
I appreciate the sentiment (and it's what I do with my own hilariously unsuccessful software), but you can't walk into a room full of data-driven aspiring entrepreneurs and tell them to do exactly what the market has shown it doesn't want, even though that would be better for all of us.
More to the point: by injecting advertising directly into packages distributed through a package repository and/or a specific toolset / toolchain / language, the parties injecting the advertising are exploiting and mining the accrued trust of that project, toolchain, and/or language, for personal gain.
It's a tragedy-of-the-commons effect: socialised costs (building of the larger toolchain), privatised benefits (ads revenue).
The long-term consequence will be a very-well-deserved shunning of the toolchain by others. A cost largely born by the vast majority not acting antisocially.
Data-driven aspiring entrepreneurs would notice that companies attempting to create and sell distributed free software haven't historically done so well. Putting ads in free software doesn't make it analogous to the business of Google and Facebook.
If you are a software developer and you want software without adverts, pay for it. If you want software for free, you accept whatever the author of that software chooses to do to pay their bills.
And I think the collective opinion here is that we'd rather go without that software than to pay for it that way. In other words, we won't accept those terms and we won't use that software.
We are talking about Free Software, libraries, and advertisements in the console. I think the collective opinion is that developers would rather not use that package than be subjected to ads in their console.
3. Gratis; donations welcome.
#3 is barely adware. Sometimes people are extra appreciative of someone's work and want to express that through action; this just tells them how.
On a personal level, I have no issue with an OSS author asking for donations. I draw the line at a company doing so. (An individual soliciting donations for something unrelated, like vim's "Help poor children in Uganda!" insert, isn't my favorite.)
That attempting to make money by spamming diagnostic mechanisms was going to annoy people was inevitable.
> But instead of attacking the guy for trying, I really wish the discussion were
I wish they guy had spent energy on "how the community... can contribute back", instead trying to get a payday by stripmining trust.
I have a lower tolerance for this crap than others, but any code I catch doing things analogous to this gets banned from my environments and the author names noted. What else will they do to my machines if someone dangles a buck?
It is simply not possible for us to add a "donation" cost to our projects. That will not get past accounting.
A license, on the other hand, we would have no issues purchasing that.
We purchase (expensive) licenses to proprietary software all the time. We could and would do the same for the open source software, we use, but without being able to purchase a license, there really isn't any practical way of doing that.
Free for everyone, except for enterprise production environments, would work for us. As long as we get a license key and an invoice.
I work on Enterprise projects and we almost always buy support contracts, for both paid-license and open-source software, if they are available; you don't need creative licensing models to get enterprise to pay for open source software, you just need to provide an opportunity to pay to have a live person respond to and manage issues for enterprise customers.
Enterprise companies also don't like to run "unsupported" software. So there is definitely an opportunity here.
If there is an opportunity here, it's most likely in collective effort. An open source guild/union could provide a support pool/cohort of contributors to cover 24/7/365 or what have you support agreements, an insurance pool for SLA guarantees broken/fees, broker and collectively bargain with enterprises for support contracts that cover costs and wages for entire direct and indirect dependency chains, rather than just obvious direct dependencies or splashy well branded dependencies.
1. Do open source maintainers actually want to commit to that?
2. What if the response is "Yes, we don't support that and don't plan to?" and the company feels this doesn't qualify as enough support and causes a headache.
3. If the purchaser knows what they're getting into, what's to say their successor also does?
We look for 100,000 individual solutions to making rent while FAANG are just sitting there with a quarter trillion plus in cash waiting to benefit from the best everything that emerges from this massive, free R&D pipeline. Take the best ideas, hire the best programmers, copy the best software, adopt the best practices. From top to bottom you could probably find 10,000+ open source contributors across their stacks, and to enable that open source software required even more contributors, and influencing it all was the previous generations of contributors.
I think the best solution is FAANG pay it forward and support the entire opensource R&D pipeline that enables them to hoard so much money. Between them they hire more people than there are open source developers so it's ridiculous they cannot support them all. It's a security issue that they do not support them at all for the most part, like with OpenSSL, like with injecting ads into node modules, like with selling modules to be repurposed as malware. We haven't even found the stuff compromised by state agencies yet.
> That's why they need to fund open source.
They do. They pay employees to work on software they contribute to the open-source community. To build React, Facebook had to rely on "20 years of R&D" but also millions of dollars in engineering hours.
Why should the resources not come from the companies extracting the most cash value from open source?
It does not fund the tools that power their current open source projects.
It does not fund the tools their next open source projects will use.
It does not fund the brilliance their next open source projects will iterate on.
It does not fund the mistakes their next open source projects will know to avoid.
They need all of that stuff before they have even a clue what to make next, and they need the open source community to try everything a hundred different ways to see which is good.
We will still be arguing about this in twenty years as open source transitions into a mostly Indo-Chino-Russo-African dominated landscape because western developers can't afford to work on open source unless it's through their employing-FAANG company.
Long before that all the current FAANG open source we're supposed to be grateful to receive instead of funding will be obsoleted and tossed aside because only a handful of ideas in it actually mattered after all.
As I already stated, yes, it does fund open source. That's literally what they're doing: spending funds on developing and maintaining open source code. Did they fund every transient piece of software in the technology stack? Of course not.
It does not fund the...
Corporate money funds all of those things you listed. No, not every single package that becomes popular, but many of them, including many informed by practical knowledge acquired through battle-tested experience operating such software in their businesses.
> western developers can't afford to work on open source unless it's at a FAANG company.
So what? If western developers can't afford to work on open-source software they shouldn't. I wouldn't expect anyone to work for free if they couldn't afford to do so.
The so-what is software development evolution comes to a grinding halt while we wait for third-world and developing countries to hit the sweet spot where people can afford to pursue their art and afford the tools and connectivity it requires and afford the many years of learning to understand the steps between hello world and inventing kubernetes. Google didn't even invent kubernetes as much as they extrapolated to it from experience and open source.
I think it's fair for developers to charge (or otherwise monetize, including ads) for their software, even if they open-source it, but they don't "need" funding any more than any other arbitrary piece of software that someone somewhere thinks should exist.
> software development evolution comes to a grinding halt
What's wrong with this? If "software development evolution comes to a grinding halt" then it means we didn't need any more new software and existing solutions have solved all problems.
And the low-quality stuff is super-important too. Before someone can work at FAANG they need to write good software. Before they can write good software they're going to practice writing all kinds of dumb shit and good stuff building the experience and knowledge required to invent a kubernetes. The time investment to obtain the skillset to work for FAANG is years. It requires hardware and connectivity.
The problem with it coming to a grinding halt is we're obviously not finished yet. In ten years React should be in the trash like literally everything that preceded it is. We might still be using Flash if we were finished. Its syntax sure looks like it lent TypeScript some ideas.
What if software genius like Torvalds isn't even rare and we're still just too stupid to foster and enable it for common good...
That's a tautology. They decided to monetize their open-source work through ads. I don't disagree with this approach, if users don't like the ads then don't use the software. That doesn't mean companies need to arbitrarily fund that project.
> Before they can write good software they're going to practice writing all kinds of dumb shit and good stuff building the experience and knowledge required to invent a kubernetes.
So what? They can write lots of practice software and not open-source it. Why should anyone be paying for them to do so?
> The problem with it coming to a grinding halt is we're obviously not finished yet. In ten years React should be in the trash like literally everything that preceded it is. We might still be using Flash if we were finished. Its syntax sure looks like it lent TypeScript some ideas.
If it should be so then it will be so. People will write software if there is a need for it. There is no inherent reason why React "should" be in the trash in 10 years, it will be in the trash only if new problems need to be solved and if they do someone will attempt to solve them.
This is easy to answer: Because most/all those open source writers explicitly said it's OK for the users of their software not to provide them cash for it. If I openly say you can use my stuff for free, and then later come and say you are morally obligated to pay me because you made huge profit from my stuff, then my integrity is compromised.
It's totally fine to say "I will no longer respond to support tickets for free", though.
Without it what do they base decisions on? React would be guesswork or an internal tool built in isolation that only solves their specific problems if even that good.
This is how software is evolving. If there is no parallel evolution it will take 1000x longer to do so. If it takes 1000x longer to evolve it takes 1000x longer to invent opportunity and savings for FAANG.
That's not so much a solution, but a new problem: how to get FAANG to actually do that?
You miss the point of open source if you think it entitled you to money from people who use it.
But these open source contributions are being done by people with free will. They are not forced to release the code they write to the internet for free. They choose to do it because that's what they want to do.
Instead of associating writing code with money, try to relate it to a hobby. I have 40 something repos on GitHub and posted 200+ blog posts on my site for free but I don't expect payment. I do it because it's fun and it helps me learn.
I'm not sure where I stand with banning terminal ads.
On one hand if someone wants to try and make money by spamming people with ads, I say let them do it because if it gets really obnoxious then ad blocking tools will remove them. On the other hand, if it becomes expected to have ads on every tool, I could get see that getting out of hand. And at the same time I don't think there's a clear enough line to constitute what an ad is. If I link back to my site without asking for anything (as a signature of some sort), is that an ad?
It's also strange to use "maintainers" as the worthy recipient here, since in almost every case I've seen, these people were also working for a big rich tech company, and very well paid already.
The problem with advertising is that (as someone here described it recently) it's an arms race. When anyone starts using them, everyone else will struggle unless they match, and that makes life worse for everyone. Is contributing bug fixes to open-source software, plus the occasional corporate sponsor, not sufficient contribution to the community and ecosystem? What exactly is the goal here? Are we upset that developers don't earn enough money?
Something has to be done to ensure that Open Source which plays a vital role in our business ecosystems remains sustainable. There are real business implications if some package we all depend on is under-funded and implodes (we can all name well-known examples of this from recent history.)
Some projects may be of critical importance to the future, but without a business model they may fizzle out and die. There's an argument that some culling must occur for the overall benefit of the collective, and I have no doubt there is a market-driven solution that we can live with. I don't know if Tidelift is it, but it is definitely an approach.
If there some OSS crisis that I’m not aware of?
Separately, just because something is an approach doesn’t mean it’s worth talking about.
There area huge number of libraries are are becoming unmaintained due to lack of resources, which will likely cause problems down the line.
I'm not sure I'd call it a crisis, but it's definitely a problem.
There are flaws in OpenSSL and they were corrected. Sometimes projects like gpg die off. That stinks, but there are other options.
Single points of failures in underpaid open source maintainers are an amazing security risk to critical infrastructure. "Patching" the labor market of open source to better account for the realities of downstream profits relative to upstream labor efforts, might be at least one way to make the entire ecosystem better for everyone.
Something that can really boost OSS community would be really good, but all I see in the market today are attacks on OSS. For example the recent amazon-mongodb debacle where a proprietary system is stealing money from an open project.
> Maintainers do critical work which enables companies to create billions of dollars in value, yet we capture none of that value for ourselves.
From TFA, some Open Source contributors are burning themselves at both ends and they should not be reduced to selling paintings on street corners to make ends meet. I'm not arguing that just anyone should be able to earn a living by writing any code and licensing it permissively, but there are some utilities which should be funded that are not, and their ability to obtain funding on their own should perhaps not be the one deciding factor in whether they survive.
In my day job, I frequently insist that programmers are bad at estimating, but they persist in asking for fine-grained estimates and making their business decisions based on them. If the success of a programmer team or product team depends on each individual programmer on the team's capability to always make estimates correctly, then the effort is likely doomed. This is a foundational idea of Agile. You can prove this empirically with enough experience; programmers should focus on making their programming skills better, not on precision time accounting and making sure that to improve estimation to become more accurate. Those things have value, but working software is more valuable. A programmer skill level may be completely orthogonal to the programmer's estimation skills, and many of us may not have the capacity for improving both at the same time.
Similarly, the success or failure of an Open Source project may depend more on the maintainer team's ability to market the project as a product and derive revenue from it.
So, how can we make this easier and more efficient, without forcing everyone to become better at it, individually? (There may not be an answer, but you haven't really taken any time at all to explain what makes Tidelift "not even worth discussing" in your view.)
It's sustainable if you accept OSS is always going to have an incalculable maintainer churn rate.
I think there might be.
I'm not involved in OSS circles, and don't really pay attention to the issues much beyond what I see on HN, but recently in a survey I completed for a tech company there were a number of questions asking my opinion on whether OSS is still a sustainable model, and if I believed it would be around 5, 10, 15, 20 years in the future.
You can ask me what I think about inflation but that wouldn't make me an economist, would it?
So you admit you don't really know much about the matter, but consider your opinion qualified by virtue of somebody asking you for your opinion?
Yes, I admit that I don't know much about OSS. But I did not state that I have a qualified opinion. In fact, I answered "Don't know/no opinion" on those questions.
The reason I posted my reply was to indicate that there must be some people worried about the situation, or it wouldn't have appeared in a survey from a very large, frequently mentioned on HN, tech company.
No, but you could relay the fact that somewhere there are people who are apparently concerned enough about inflation to ask you about it.
It's a strange question, to ask if OSS will still be around that far in the future. It (albeit without the name) has been around longer than proprietary software. Did your survey ask if proprietary software would still be around in 20 years? I think it should have.
I very much doubt that assertion is true.
> But instead of attacking the guy for trying,
I didn't see many attacks generally in the comments here, directed at the guy for trying generally (a few ad-hominems were thrown, but you could cure all forms of cancer and still attract some of those!). Most were criticising him for trying that way. "Bad idea, this is why I think so, please don't". Maybe the filtering here was sufficient to hide the worse reactions, and things were far less civil elsewhere.
My tuppence worth?
Adverts and other superfluous junk do not belong in build/install/other logs like that, for technical reasons rather than (or as well as) personal preference ones.
The same defences of the idea ("I need to make ends meet somehow", "But I'm only sending a couple of lines to each person", ...) apply equally to spam email so the idea shows the same lack of empathy about potentially inconveniencing others which might be a source of more aggressive reactions. As the title of the article he quotes (in his reaction to those reactions) says: "Open Source is Not About You", it isn't just about him either. And with regard to the quoted text "and the scope of their entitlement extends only to their own projects": exactly, other people on other projects that have the code as a dependency are potentially affected by these adverts - his idea was itself stepping outside the scope he expects others to keep to. Of course he is free to go ahead anyway, though others are equally free to fork the codebase to remove the adverts.
Again, this is not intended as a criticism for trying at all. This is just stating that I think this particular attempt is a pretty bad idea.
Money has really corrupted free and open source. The entire idea of free software is that it's free, without any catch. People loved to create and would create and give it away, the reward was in the creating and seeing other's use it. If you didn't care about that, you charged for it. Sometimes, the idea was that a bunch of random people would show up and create a free alternative against a very expensive software. For photoshop, see gimp. For oracle see mysql & postgresql. It was not free so companies couldn't profit off them, it was free for anyone to use, students, people without money, bums, anyone, companies included. The idea of open source was you can be free to inspect the source, tweak and customize to your taste, fix a bug if you have it, share your knowledge so other's can also borrow. This was the ethos of the hackers spirit. Build shit, share shit. Not hackers vs for-profit companies. We have coexisted along side for profit companies companies for a long time, they have built some cool shit that an individual or a random bunch of individuals couldn't. iphone, gpu, cloud some of those profit companies were started by hackers, and we have built shit they couldn't imagine or dare build. napster, torrent, bitcoin, linux.
So let's please stop this rhetroic about for-profit companies gaining value from open source. That was always the intent. Would it be nice if they gave back? Sure! But if they don't, no problem too. If they build cool stuff with open source that drives society forward, it's good for all. Case in point, see Linux or raspberry pi tons of amazing IOT devices out there that won't exist without it or worse running windows ce.
Companies are also giving back, go to Github. Sometimes it's just a single line of code commit, sometimes it's finding a bug, sometimes it's a correction to documentation. Then some are giving massively, see go, dart, react, angular, ionic, tensorflow, kubernetes. The symbiotic relationship between hackers and for-profit companies are really strong and we are not enemies. The only real battle that's been fought since the beginning is that information must be free. It's never been about the battle of money.
Want some money? Go get a job or start a business. Bill Gates did it, Jobs & Woz did it, Linus got a job. John Carmack has a job, Jeff Dean has a job, even Paul Graham works for his. If anything I'm very suspicious of those who want to get paid for working on open source.
When those redditor called it sleazy, they were being too gentle.
This seems like an overreaction. Are HN ads (those links to YC company jobs) malware? According to feross, the ads were just static hardcoded messages. I find it distasteful, but I don't see how it's "malware".
It doesn't matter if there is no telemetry (and if this were to be normalized, there would eventually be telemetry. Such are the economic incentives in the ad industry. When it's possible for telemetry to exist, advertisers will desire it and some engineer will eventually decide to profit from implementing it) Advertising is propaganda inherently contrary to the interests of anybody subjected to it. It's rife with psychological manipulation. FM radio ads have no telemetry, but can anybody seriously deny that FM radio ads are sleazy as fuck?
E.g. would we better off if we couldn't advertise that free software alternatives exist?
If anybody needs proof of this, install an adblocker and observe as your life does not fall apart despite your now limited exposure to advertising.
That is naive thinking. Advertising exists to reduce friction in the market. I'm a lot more likely to buy something if I know it exists. I won't go to the movies unless I've seen a trailer, for instance.
Maybe installing an adblocker doesn't super negatively impact your life but if we completely stop advertising as a practice then spending would slow and all of our lives would be worse off.
Far from negatively impacting your life at all, blocking ads significantly improves it. Try it out yourself. I think you'll find that through various interactions with the general public, people who aren't paid to lie about products or services, you still find out about movies worth watching.
Ads need not be scummy, and just because some are doesn't mean all are. Ads _can_ be primarily informational without being "scummy" or "sleazy".
Sure, yes, most of the ad industry is currently about being manipulative and invasive, but it need not be that way. We, as a society, need to figure out how to stop it from being that way across the board, because as you said, good actors will be at a disadvantage to sleazy actors.
(To the extent that bad products get more enthusiastic advertising, in a perverse sense viewing ads might actually make you a more informed consumer if you deliberately avoid any product with slick marketing. However I cannot advocate for such an approach because I think the theoretical advantage here is washed out by the practical reality that advertising will effect you in ways contrary to your own interest, but in line with corporate interests.)
Here are some examples from a 2010 model railroader. https://photos.app.goo.gl/RvRzECgs7MaTo7tP8
Some, especially the Kato model Amtrak one, have some aspects of an aspirational ad, but I don't know if I'd condem them as such. They usually, as the Kato one has, information about the specific items that are now available and often some "ambiance" information that many hobbiests, especially people new to the hobby like to look at.
I don't mind ads like these as they're not designed to make you feel as though you need to purchase something to be better and they're not in a public space. They're they're to matter-of-factly says a service or product is available.
I could also show you the local pennysaver or Craigslist. All of those are also add, but they're not the "aspirational" kind. They're more matter-of-factly that someone is selling so (used) item, or provides some kind of service, or that there is a garage or estate sale at such-and-such address. How else would this information be made readily and easily available?
Specialized magazines (hobbyist, regional, etc) seem to hit the absolute right balance for this. People advertising in them know who they're advertising to, in general, and people picking them up know what they're getting; some interesting content (hopefully) and some ads relevant to their hobby/region.
Online ads have gone way, way, wayyyyy too far in getting into the scummy hyper-profiling, and they're not even selling stuff I'm then interested in! So what's the point? I mean, in practical terms the point is to try and differentiate their profiles of me from other people's profiles of me -- marketing techniques applied to the business of marketing -- but in real terms, who (aside from the companies building these profiles) benefits?
I'm personally holding out hope that the US will adopt a "you own your data and can determine its uses" legal framework, and bring the hammer down on anyone amassing profiles on the populace. Google, Equifax, Facebook, the million anonymous marketing and list-selling firms, all that stuff needs to come under heavy regulation.
Adware is malware. It's software that does a thing the user doesn't want it to do. That's definitional.
About the only exception I can think of would be oldschool stuff like the AllAdvantage toolbar that would pay users for watching ads. That was intentionally installed.
The longer term plan for tubermap, was to essentially have the site be a way of people determining where they should live based on commute times, cost of rent etc.
In that sense what you're calling an ad would actually be the primary purpose of the site, i.e. you'd go and look for apartments now you've figured out (based on that pricing information) where makes sense.
It just never actually materialized because, well, other projects, jobs, etc. The beta version has rent pricing but it was inaccurate due to people selling parking spaces as 1 bedroom flats on APIs etc.
So it's more like kernel.org having a link to lwn.net or something. No-one actually uses the site for navigation because there are better tools for that.
You'll note that none of my sites have third party ad networks, analytics, any of that nonsense. If I use CDN's anywhere subresource integrity should be on but there might be some older stuff that doesn't.
I still think that definition is unworkable. What "the user wants to do" isn't even an objective measure. Is VIM malware because it includes s message urging the user to donate to charity, which is unrelated to it'd purpose as an editor? Is apt-get malware because it included an Easter egg? By that definition, the answer is both yes and no, since it depends on who is using it wanting that or not.
When Microsoft put live tiles and telemetry in Windows, whoever signed off on that knew they were crossing a line.
It doesn't need to be defined that strictly. The OP talks about FM radio adverts. An announcer telling you that a new song like, exists, could be construed in some sense to be an advert, just as my profile telling you that I am indeed a software developer could be.
But that's not really what's pissing people off and abusing their attention here.
> Once again: All I need to do is think of one counterexample where both parties gained value (monetarily and psychologically)
You know damn well, but are unlikely to admit unless perhaps called on it, that an advertising professional that gives value to a consumer one day will be just as willing to take it the next. The advertising professional is not motivated by a desire to help the consumer and cases where that happens are incidental at best (and rare.) There is a lot of delusion in the industry too. Advertisers in the pharma space will swear themselves blue that they're helping consumers to find medication that will earnestly help them, but these advertisers are not altruists, they do I because they're paid. And more damning, their industry (pharma advertising) is illegal in other countries with good reason. But this is an industry that regularly turns its own techniques in on itself, using their rhetorical/persuasive skills on their own, to reassure their own that what they're doing is humanitarian.
Claims without specifics or examples.
>Those who brushed up against it and didn't rejected it are irredeemable.
Very vague. No specifics.
>Those who haven't yet corrupted themselves are the ones I
hope to help, and I believe I can do so by creating a fanatical anti-advertising mob mentality that allows feelings of self-righteousness.
Reminiscent of No True Scotsman.
>You know damn well, but are unlikely to admit unless perhaps called on it, that an advertising professional that gives value to a consumer one day will be just as willing to take it the next.
Attributing things to the other party in a conversation is a tried and tested method of making a conversation go downhill.
>Advertisers in the pharma space will swear themselves blue that they're helping consumers to find medication that will earnestly help them, but these advertisers are not altruists, they do I because they're paid.
I don't recall that advertisers claim to do things out of altruism. The grocery store owner down the road is not an altruist either. Nor is pretty much any non-profit entity out there. You're merely pointing out that advertisers are in the same category as all businessmen.
Quite apparent in all your comments: A willingness to preach, and not a willingness to have a conversation. Even your response to me missed pretty much the entire point of my comment. Trying to convince me that advertising is bad is a clear sign of that.
I think citation is needed here. Many big open source projects are created and maintained by the paid employees of big corporations.
For large corporations, it is easier to hire a developer to work on a critical piece of open source software than it is to go through the approval process of sending money (no strings attached) to a particular individual.
You mean follow the terms of the open source license? If the creator wants money all (s)he has to do is put it up under a different license. You can’t have it both ways. Promoting free usage and expecting money back as well.
Ads are cancer though. The idea that the only reliable way to fund anything is turn it into a billboard needs to die.
The problem here is the showing an ad is working directly against the user, and working directly against the user violates a core expectation of open software. A thing cannot be supported by destroying the thing itself.
It would also be unacceptable to backhaul system information for "market research", run a Bitcoin miner, add entries to authorized_keys, flash epileptic trigger patterns, etc. We would rightly call such additions security incidents, as is this attempt at psychologically manipulating users.
Because it's not a clever idea at all. First of all, open source software should stay true to what is is, which is free and open. If maintainers really wanted to profit off of this, they should have never made it free or at least offer some sort of pricing model that doesn't affect the essence of the project being open source (e.g., offering paid support), projects like Sidekiq having Sidekiq Pro. Users shouldn't be the one "paying" for open source software through the ads. This is making developers pay for the project indirectly.
DHH latest keynote from Railsconf 2019 hits the nail in the coffin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBwWbFpkltg
Profits are up, inequality is up.
That’s by design.
We should be working on making it so people can eat and be healthy, and not have to be reduced to such bottom feeding tactics.
But everyone thinks it’s mean and petty to tell kids of dead rich people they don’t get to inherit all the power.
If I learned anything getting an MS in mathematical linguistics: economics is not physics and mass delusions infect smart people’s limbic systems too.
How do you fix it though? A large funding program? If the state or private industry were the backer, how do you prevent manipulation? The only viable models (that spring to my mind) are Spanish-Anarchist type stuff of generally funded unions of technical workers, but that doesn't feel likely.
Kind of wondering how, given that direct pipeline of transfer payments from the fed to private companies we can ever believe the “our economics is a free system of ideas.”
Prevent manipulation of the state by prioritizing policing of state acts, not average folks on the street.
Absolutely none of these ideas are new. It’s a fact of our biology that sees us favoring the mental model we know versus the unknown of a new social hierarchy. A reasonable “how to” is well detailed though.
The public must engage the political system directly and not through the business sector administrators inserted in the middle of the process via manipulation of the financial systems flow of capital.
Look what happens when there’s a half assed effort to get something like Obamacare. Imagine if the effort wasn’t so half assed?
> I really wish the discussion were focussed on how the community of open-source consumers can contribute back to the open source ecosystem in a way that promotes the sustainability of the projects and community.
Then you should post an article about that and vote it to the front page.
Paid software is increasingly filled with ads, and I would argue it is precisely the absence of a profit motive that has kept FOSS software so virtuous. See the effect it had on app stores.
With that assumption, the argument against advertising then can be shifted to arguments for or against paying software authors for their work. Of course, this was not the issue that triggered the action or resulting commentary. It was advertising.
It is an evasive shift from one issue to another, a rhetorical trick. There is no debate for or against paying for software. There is a debate against advertising via internet. That debate has existed since the network opened to the public.
Consider a world where the norm is not MIT/BSD but GPL dual licensed with MIT for a fee. This would give back control to maintainers of a library, and it would allow people without funds to use the software freely by contributing back to the community any changes they wish to further publish.
It puts the incentives in the right place, which is very important for a scalable, sustainable solution and to avoid tragedy of the commons!
It’s controversial because licensing has become a tribal issue, frustrating level headed debate. But I would argue that many people choose MIT without really thinking it through, “because it’s how everyone else does it”. You can see this in complaints from maintainers of code released under MIT, abuse which would never have been possible with the GPL.
I really think there is value in evaluating the community’s obsession with MIT, before we jump to pointing fingers at “companies”. Remember: if you get burned by the tragedy of the commons, ask yourself why did we set ourselves up to fail? It’s the hardest possible fight to win.
Again I’m not trying to derail this into MIT v GPL, I’m just saying: IF we all choose MIT, can we really complain now? This is what happens: people profit off your work and don’t contribute. If you feel so frustrated by that that you’re adding ads to your lib, maybe MIT wasn’t the right choice?
(MIT has merit and there are people out there using it for the right reasons. But they’re not the ones putting ads in their repos.)
Note that the MIT license allows redistribution: anyone who bought a single MIT license could legally distribute MIT-licensed copies without continuing to pay the original author for additional licenses.
Let's say you have some sort of model where a monthly subscription gives you an MIT license for all commits made that month. Who is actually going to go to the trouble of mirroring every commit or release from upstream to their own public repository? If somebody actually did that gratuitously, the copyright owner could just decline to renew their subscription the following month.
I'm sure there's some issues with this that I'm not thinking of, but I think generally if somebody is willing to pay you for a license, they're not going to be a jerk and try to undermine your business.
The people who want to support you are not the problem. They'd probably donate too if they would buy a license in this thought experiment. The people who don't want to support you are. One of them could buy a license, relicense as MIT. And either they'd get updates with their paid license, in which case they'd just release those as MIT too, or wait for your next stable version and buy again and so on. Or they would just fork the project, and start their own business around it, without having had any more cost than a single license....
Usually you wouldn't use the MIT license to do it, but it's the same idea.
Has anyone considered that open source / free software is just fundamentally incompatible with capitalism? Society already has plenty of ways to fund projects -- we even created entire legal constructs, like copyright, to facilitate this very thing.
The zero-cost ability to copy software and mutate it (if you have the source) is at the heart of the movement. As is the realization that we can collectively build something that benefits everyone. Money doesn't have to figure into this.
Of course, plenty of developers have tried (and succeeded) at using free software for capitalistic ends. But I don't think it follows that free software should, or needs to be, funded the way that we purchase other software or how Google or Facebook funds their software.
Legions, many of which have only recently become aware of Free Software or Open Source.
As far as Free Software is concerned, there is no problem with capitalism. It's only about guarding the software freedoms of the users of software.
"Free" as in "free market", not as in "free lunch".
Free Software can still be incompatible with capitalism even if it doesn't address it directly. If you release your software with a Free Software license do you really "own" it in a capitalistic sense? I'm thinking no. As a consequence it's actually hard to make money with Free Software. But that difficulty and lack of ownership hasn't prevented Free Software from thriving, in fact, just the opposite.
Whereas I would not "own" the software, I would own the hours I'm willing to write software. As things are I can't freely sell those hours because of a monopoly on many programs, that is, no user can hire me to improve their proprietary software. I can only sell my hours to users of Free Software.
Now we have software "ownership" against the workings of a free market. Both of these are generally considered "capitalist", so it depends on your definition which is "more capitalist", but I hope it's clear that neither of them is strictly capitalist where the other is not.
At issue here is that the developer is not selling their time. They're putting in that time for free. And then they want to recover that income after the fact. This is traditionally how any kind of product is developed. You put in time and resources into a product and you sell that product to recoup that cost and hopefully make a profit as well.
If you don't own/control the software, due to it being Free Software, then that whole avenue of income generation is not available or very difficult. Time and again, we see individuals and companies trying to find a way to sell Free Software like traditional software.
I think that paying people for valuable work is a good thing. But I don’t think there is a problem with this as evidenced by 50 years of great OSS software written by professional and amateur developers.
Saying I spent 4000 hours on a project without pay is not enough info to be useful to determine that I need payment. I volunteer time to lots of charities, I don’t then say I need payment for this time. I also spent countless hours on hobbies, this doesn’t entitle me to payment.
If I put an annoying ad into people’s consciousness because I spend 3000/year organizing my magic cards, that’s not really relevant to most people.
Until you consider the fact that critical infrastructure depends on underfunded open source projects that sometimes have trouble staying afloat.
NTP is the classic example of the problem.
This is not principally an issue of a funding problem for the maitnainers, but an issue of a risk management problem for the relying parties.
Unfortunately, it's probably going to take a massive costly, critical failure before it gets addressed, but once that happens it will be addressed quickly, and critical infrastructure will rapidly not be relying on underfunded open source projects. (Whether that is through those products—whether the existing core project or a new fork—getting better support from well-heeled downstream parties, as many widely-critical open source projects (e.g., SQLite) already have, or whether it means those products get replaced may not be consistent from product to product. If they do get funding, though, it's not going to be without the funding parties taking a keen interest in governance, as the risk doesn't go away with unaccountable funding alone.
It's such a ridiculous attitude to read on a news site hosted by a Venture Capitalist firm.
It's just a configuration file for a formatting library that someone else(s) wrote.
If living comfortably is Feross's goal, why not get a job? This is a high profile programmer in one of the highest demand, highest-programmer-wage places in the world. What am I missing?
The alternative is Feross gets a job, and everyone invents their own stuff in-house, and we end up with 'open source' that is just what profitable companies want to have as open source. The set of things companies decide to open source is not a good overlap with the set of software that should exist.
lol if you need to make income from your work, don't give it away for free. Should everyone demand getting paid now for working on hobby projects?
My point was that even though the "don't give it away for free" model works, we should still try to improve the profitability of funding models where we can give software away for free.
I would love to find a way to help maintainers capture at least a bit of the value we create so that we can happily continue to write new features, fix bugs, answer user questions, improve documentation, and release innovative new software.
But after it was received badly, he switches to:
Folks who contribute nothing don’t get a seat at the table. Rich Hickey said it best in Open Source is Not About You:
Which seems contrary. Rich Hickey’s post is that open source is built for oneself (one person or one company) and then released to the world in whatever state it was used internally. Other people aren't paying, so they don't get a say. The opening position is that open source is created and maintained for the benefit of others.
It can be either, neither, or both for different projects, sure, but to suggest that people take up maintaining unseen infrastructure code so that they can answer user questions and write documentation and code new features to help people and also don’t no have to listen to anything those people say because it’s done for one’s self and not about those people at all.. which is it?
People who tidy the commons for the council are employees, and do what they're told. People who tidy the commons of their on volunteer effort get to choose what to do but don't get to stick a price tag on it. If you do it for yourself on your terms, you don’t get anyone’s money. If you do it for others and want their money, it’s a job but you have to be controlled by what they want because it’s a job.
If you do it for guilt and charity, who gets to thrive off charity work in other fields?
If you went to a local park and found someone had picked some poison ivy, and left an advert there instead, would you approve?
In my case, the arrows are purely stylistic. They never change color or ordering.
However, it's not like the developers of and contributors to these projects naively go in thinking they're going to get paid anything. They graciously choose to make the fruits of their efforts freely available regardless of compensation. And, yes, there are companies making money off of that generosity.
My point is; nobody is in the wrong here. Both parties have entered into this agreement willingly.
Injecting ads like this is wrong because the developers are reneging on that agreement. It's as if the developers are saying, "You know what? I changed my mind and I want some money for this because companies are making money off of it now." What's worse is they aren't even charging the companies directly.
I'm all for a discussion around how to help generate funding for FOSS projects but have we not learned from Google, Facebook, and others how wrong a path advertising can be? At what point are the advertisers going to want demographic information and the module developers start requiring you provide that information at 'npm install'?
In fact, if the project was important enough, and maintainer was stubborn enough, I am sure devs community using that code would rant, but end up using it anyway, with or without npmjs.org
And considering that it’s not unusual to be installing hundreds of npm packages for a single project, the ads would soon render the logging output unusable, giving rise to an arms race between npm ads and npm ad-blockers.
So npm basically had to nip this in the bud, before it makes the ecosystem unusable through the tragedy of the commons.
Packages that display ads at runtime, on installation, or at other stages of the software development lifecycle, such as via npm scripts.
Packages with code that can be used to display ads are fine. Packages that themselves display ads are not.
Packages that themselves function primarily as ads, with only placeholder or negligible code, data, and other technical content.
I wonder where they will draw the line with the last point.
There are limits to explore in this area, for example, I doubt anyone would disagree with censoring obvious malware. But for the rest? It is deeply political, and politicizing the distribution of free software is frankly repugnant. This puts me off spending much time with the JS ecosystem (not that I would have already), and worried about it setting precedents for ecosystems I actually do care about.
A glorified FTP server should never be telling you what kind of software you can write or how you package it. In this scenario, the glorified FTP server is no longer fit for purpose, and if such changes have community support, in my eyes that community is no longer a free software community.
- In the beginning was the jQuery style guidelines, which started for jQuery but were eventually for general JS https://contribute.jquery.org/style-guide/js/
- Then there was idiomatic.js, from a massive bunch of JS community leaders https://github.com/rwaldron/idiomatic.js/, evolving some of the principles of jQuery style guidelines.
- Then AirBnB made their own style guides because they didn't realise the jQuery guidelines or Idiomatic existed
- Feross and some other people made 'Standard' JS, ignoring the previous 3 standards, and said it's standard because, well: https://github.com/standard/standard#but-this-isnt-a-real-we... (see 'tape' and how it's 'the only test framework which supports TAP' because the tape author invented TAP). https://standardjs.com/
- Currently most JS devs who have been around a while use Prettier instead of eslint because it formats the code rather than just complaining (recent versions of Standard apparently do this too, but that came later) https://prettier.io/
Feross himself is awesome. The name 'standardJS' was a poor choice.
What? The tape package on npm? As far as I know, that was made by substack (James Halliday), whereas TAP dates back to 1987 with Perl (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_Anything_Protocol says “the Test::Harness module was written by Tim Bunce and Andreas König”).
Sure, Standard on the face of it seems simple technologically, and compared to many other things it is. But it's value lies in completely removing long winded and often unnecessary conversations within teams about code style.
Standard represents a standard style of writing JS that has gained widespread support (similar to Airbnb's linter config). It's value is that a team can adopt broadly sane conventions then never think about it again - which leaves those dev cycles for shipping features. Without widespread use, Standard would be just another linter config - but large parts of the JS ecosystem (regardless of what people think of JS) have adopted it and as a result it has saved the world a million conversations that "didn't need to happen".
If you care enough about style to not pick their choices, you're free not to use it. But for a lot of us we just want a broadly accepted opinion so we can focus on features.
And as it turns out, maintaining a style guide for how to write JS for the masses takes quite a lot of work. Not writing code necessarily, but considering and replying to all the feedback on that style.
Not for or against the funding project - but within the JS ecosystem Standard has meant many hundreds of hours that might have been spent biked shedding, have been spent shipping features.
Standard has been genuinely useful to myself and pretty much every other JS developer I know. And whilst I'm in no position to speak to weather I'm junior or not I know a lot of the most experienced programmers in the JS ecosystem reach for Standard so they can focus on more important matters.
It's not JS that has such opinions enshrined in law, Python for example has pep8.
So Feross tried to solve this by, yes, making an eslint config and a thin wrapper around it to run it, then giving it a really pretentious name in the hope it would become The Coding Style for JS. It didn't work. Airbnb has always had a significantly more popular eslint config package, and more recently the Prettier tool has solved the problem Standardjs was trying to solve much better (and become much more popular).
And the issue with trying to do what Standardjs is trying to do is that if you're not the most popular solution, you're part of the problem. :)
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