Open Source is a privilege. Not a right.

Edit: this is not a Gitlab specific issue. I’ve seen it before and I’m seeing it again at the Gitlab project.

The past few months I’ve been contributing to the Gitlab project. This has been a great experience, mostly because Gitlab has become a very popular project with over 2.3k watchers right now.

It gives me great satisfaction knowing that my code is being used by hundreds if not thousands of people right now. But there is also this little thing that has been bugging me lately.

There is a small core team of developers devoting time to the development of Gitlab. They do this passionatly and they have been cranking out releases and new features every 22nd of month for the past six months.

A lot of effort has gone into making Gitlab what it is today.

But with the rise in popularity there has also been an increased number issues, bugs and feature requests. The mailing list is also more active than ever. Of course, all of this is a good thing for an open source project, you would think.

Most users appreciate the effort that goes into developing an application as complex as Gitlab. They appreciate the fact it’s available for free. The appreciate somebody made time to develop a tool they can put to use on a daily basis.

This appreciation is great motivator for the developers. Knowing their code is being put to good use only drives them write more code, more features.

Unfortunately, I read tickets and threads of this kind too often lately:

Add [this feature]. My company needs this and if you don’t add this we won’t use Gitlab.

Also this:

We are expecting [this feature] in the next release.

Or:

We must have [this feature]. Gitlab is useless without it and we’ll go back to using Github.

Why do people think they can make demands like these?

Is it too hard to read the installation guide that comes with the project?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome people are willing to try and install Gitlab. It’s even more awesome people post their ideas and feature requests to further improve Gitlab.

However, the lack of respect for people who spend their free time developing an open source application for you to use for free is sickening.

No, really. Sickening.

There really is no reason to threaten or pressure the people who are dedicating the free time, parts of the lives, to an open source project to implement something for you.

Of course, some of you will say, “Just ignore those ass holes. They’re not worth your time.” I agree, but after reading two or three of these responses I don’t feel like spending my evening off coding some awesomeness.

This is a request to anyone who’s ever going to post a feature request, a bug report or even a post to the mailing list of an open source project:

Open Source is a privilege. Not a right.