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His point remains reasonable, though: If all you did was dump the resulting artifacts of a learning or self-edification exercise online, you didn't make a product like a Firefox or MySQL. And to the extent that people use your code, it's most likely as part of a similar journey to yours, and studying that code is not hugely different from studying books and whitepapers, even if the code is easier to leverage. But people were doing this before "open source" became a thing, and in a manner more befitting the role of such code: as part of a text file documenting the core concepts and posted on a BBS or Usenet, so that you could program the same thing. It's the kind of thing that would be a blogpost now. The actual code? Usually only the really deep, underlying algorithms need that spelled out.

It's only when you make a full system that the end user can get value out of that you get into the scenario he outlines. Somewhere in the middle in between the simple code dump and Firefox, open source tends to sink into a quagmire where it looks like a product but it's not supported like a product. And the only good answers then seem to be "go small" (impose LOC limits and hard constraints on features you ship so that maintenance drifts towards stability) or "commoditize" (become part of someone's product in a way that gets you paid).

Except he's arguing the fact that there's a bunch of useless code on Github means open source is bad. I argue that for the purpose of comparing the results of open and closed source development it's reasonable to restrict to software with a real user base.

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