How should ordinary people treat open source projects?

The Suspension of a Big Shot#

The reason for writing this article is that I noticed that a big shot spencerwoo I followed on GitHub has stopped one of his open-source projects. I had been using Onedrive Index before, but the project stopped working properly, so I put it aside for a while. When I had some free time to tinker with it again, I found that the project had been archived. So, I followed his blog to learn the story behind it.

I first learned about this big shot because I rarely heard the surname Spencer before. The first time I heard the name Spencerwoo, I found it interesting (because every time I pronounce this name, I hear "Spencer, oh" in my head 🐶). I also read an article on a minority platform and started using Onedrive Index myself. I also followed the big shot on Twitter and Telegram, but I noticed that he didn't update much content. He was probably really exhausted.

My Experience as a Non-Developer#

As someone who knows nothing about coding and is not a developer, visiting GitHub is really just to see interesting repositories and useful tools. If I can follow the of a project and get interested in it, I'm happy enough to take off (like with Onedrive Index). Then, I use GitHub to store my Obsidian and Logseq notes, that's all.

I can't write code myself, so I can't make significant contributions to open-source projects. But I truly believe in the concept of open-source. Seeing programmers from all over the world come together because of an open-source idea, so many people, not driven by profit but simply because they created something useful and fun and want to share it with others, believing that everyone should have the freedom to enjoy the convenience brought by software, thinking that useful software should not be the exclusive domain of commercial companies. This spirit has motivated more people to contribute, and this is the significance of the Internet - freedom and sharing.

Actually, it's like this. Originally, I just shared the small tools I made, but when more people saw and understood them, they had different ideas, new problems, and new needs. I believe most people should understand this. However, there are always a few people who are self-centered, treating open-source projects as their own free resources and developers as free tools. But in the beginning, others just shared their joy of creating a small tool. Their original idea was just to feel happy about creating something and being able to share it with others who could benefit from it, not to be taken advantage of under the banner of open-source and "Free".

User Roles and Attitudes in Open-Source Projects#

I hope the open-source world can become better and better. Although it may sound like empty words coming from a non-developer, I also realize that in the open-source world, there are not only developers but also users who are part of the product. As an ordinary user, all I can hope for is that everyone can use open-source projects with less hostility and entitlement, and more gratitude and awe. The first prerequisite for using someone else's open-source work is to approach it with reverence. Most open-source contributors actually maintain the projects you like as a part-time job or out of interest. The hard work of others is likely to only bring them spiritual satisfaction, and the actual economic income is very little, because in both domestic and foreign environments, it is unlikely that full-time open-source work can support the developers.

There is also a significant probability of encountering problems such as repetitive questions, strange feature requests, and malicious challenges, which can be discouraging. So when you use an open-source project, the first thing you need to do is to have the mindset of being a user. You are enjoying the fruits of someone else's labor, so don't do things like "picking up chopsticks to eat and then cursing the cook". When you encounter a problem, first check if you have carefully read the documentation, if there are similar issues or bugs in the repository, and engage in discussions and exchanges. Secondly, express your thoughts and demands rationally, and provide feedback on issues and bugs correctly.

In Conclusion#

Moreover, if you really have your own ideas about a project and have the ability, you can directly submit a pull request to add new features or fix bugs. These are all possible things to do, instead of repeatedly doing fearless things that make developers uncomfortable or make the open-source community stink. Finally, I hope the open-source world can become better and better.

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