How welcoming is the Open Source community? And I’m talking about Linux specifically. I would like to tell you a little bit about my experiences in last year or so. I already touched on this topic at the end of my previous post, but I would like to fully explain the problem and hopefully spark some hope. I will be saying “you” a lot, but I may not mean you. Don’t take it personally please.
I’m former game programmer, obviously closed source industry. I’m also .NET Engineer, yes that is my job title at Red Hat. I work on
C# stuff in Linux, I work on the Open Source .NET Core.
I do everything at 110%, so working for Red Hat automatically meant that I had to jump on the Fedora train as well. I was really happy, I felt welcome there, I felt that my contribution meant something. However, now I realise that I was a little bit lucky to attract the right people, I was quickly surrounded by awesome Fedora contributors and open minded RedHatters at work. Everyone accepted me, when I mentioned that I work with C# and .NET and whatever, they were curious about the topic and I would like to believe that genuinely. “.NET on Linux? So cool…“
As I meet more and more people from the wider area, I realise, that it was just the small sweet circle of people around me. Random people, whether they are random programmers, server administrators, Fedora contributors, or even my own colleagues in Red Hat often react with something along the lines of “Microsoft penetrates into Red Hat!” or that “Microsoft is entering open source to destroy it from within.” That is the idea people generally have in the FLOSS community. People have these weird conspiracy ideas and pursue them way too strong.
It’s work of many good developers and good people. Why do you insult their work without knowing anything about it at all? Let me ask you an important question then, if you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume that you’re an Open Source contributor, maybe a little bit more! Maybe you’re FLOSS advocate. The question is simple, do you want these new contributors to feel welcome, or to be afraid of FLOSS? Do you want game developers and .NET engineers to love it, or to hate it and be scared of the community? What these closed-minded open-advocates are doing does not send the best message to the closed source. You’re not making it more welcoming and sweet for all those formerly closed source developers.
Welcome new open source developers who maybe had background in closed source, help them, show them that it’s awesome. Stop trying to scare them away. Keep on building nice and inclusive community.
I’m not going around trashing Python either, even though I’ve had plenty of experience with it and I did not like it. Why not? Because it would by proxy also trash the people working with it. I would merely say that i did not like some features of the language, such as whitespace syntax. You can do the same about Microsoft. I don’t like their products, they are not my fit… Too big solutions for my taste, I like to keep it a bit more simple. I don’t like their FreeToPlayWindows10 business model because oh it so reminds me of my former profession. I don’t like that they are buying their way into Linux Foundation, because buying your way into anything is just not cool… Neither one of these sentences would insult me if I were to work with visual studio on windows 10.
Word your opinions carefully with a bit of empathy, it is real humans reading them. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.