Open source development is largely more broken than ever

The least fun part of working on Ghost is dealing with Github, which is really sad.

Everyone has their pet issue, whether design or accessibility or security or internationalisation or performance or SEO or or or… the list goes on. Everyone thinks theirs is most important and that we should work on right now and they can’t believe that we would ignore it. It’s always absolutely outrageous.

How open source works is: If you want something, you can build it.

That’s the freedom which open source gives you. We build a base product which you can adapt, extend or integrate however you want. You can’t do that with closed source platforms. Open source code = the freedom for you to do things with it. But that’s not how many people understand it.

Developers regularly show up on Github, rage at us for something like not supporting Postgres – and then we say “ok so are you going to write and maintain Postgres support for Ghost?” and they say “of course not, I don’t have time for that!” – and then occasionally they’ll go on Twitter and tell all their followers to give us hell. As if organising a mob and shouting louder is the best way to get a bunch of people writing free code to do what you want.

Unfortunately I think Github itself has a lot to do with this. The product has become too transactional – more support tool than collaboration. And Github themselves show remarkable disinterest in the open source community as a whole – they give us beta access to test new features every so often. That’s about it. There’s no wider involvement at all.

Our core team tends to do the “real work” in private issues nowadays. The signal to noise ratio is just too overwhelming.