Open Source by default
As a developer, you probably use a fair amount of open source tools. You might not even realize that you are doing it, because open source is everywhere. This is an awesome thing, and I think you should help contribute to it! Most people will say things like “Oh, I don’t have anything to contribute” and I would answer them by asking if they’ve ever customized their IDE or text editor. When they say yes, I offer that they could post their settings. I then point them to my dotfile repo as an example of someone doing this. Now this is a very simple and probably not terribly useful example of open source. BUT! It is a first step. And every major thing starts with a single small step. Most developers will then start to think about other helper scripts they have written. If there’s no proprietary information in them and they are really useful, then doesn’t it make sense to put them out there as open source?
Obviously (I hope) if you are working for a company, make sure it is ok with them before you share any of their code. After all, it is theirs.
So at this point you are probably asking “Ok, by why?” Here are my thoughts on why this is important:
- It is (however small) a chance to give back to a community that you have taken part in. That’s like bringing a bottle of wine to a party, everyone appreciates that.
- It bolsters you reputation. A lot of people don’t contribute anything. By you putting something/anything out there, it makes you (and your company) stand out.
- It can lead to bigger things. Sure, you might not have the knowledge or skills to contribute to a big project right now, but small steps like this are confidence builders.
- It can build your skill set and reputation.
In short, it has lots of upsides, and very little downside. If you have experiments, junk code, scratch files, special configuration, or anything else like that, I encourage you to open source it! Make a free account on github or bitbucket and share that code with the world.tags: