The Open Source Issue

After working several years for Microsoft (before MSFT started to open source code), I already used quite a lot of open-source software. I run my own Linux server in the cloud internet and used a whole bunch of free and open-source software. Actually, I also open-sourced quite a bit of my code as well as contributed to various open-source projects, such as the openHAB project.

I have quite a fan of Ubuntu and nevertheless how much I would like to, I probably never will find time to contribute in a meaningful manner until I retire. Also, I have an endless list of ideas of things, I would like to write, code and probably open-source, I eventually will never get along with that list. Even worse, there is a whole list of abandoned projects I would like to claim and push forwards, but again this will never happen.

Quite some time ago, I had a friend who wrote open source. At one day, he said farewell to the community with the word “Sorry guys, however, I now have to work for real money.”, which actually point out the issue quite well.

I haven’t thought about this friend for quite a while until I meanwhile started using my very own OwnCloud server. I started browsing the addons and apps and was faced a quite frustrating situation.

For one of the plugins, I was looking for I found the following announcement

Due to the massive testing effort and the problem of nearly no donations I’m going to stop the further development. If anyone wants to step in, feel free

For another plugin in Firefox, I heavily used on for years I got the notification the project will not be continued in the future.

I am absolutely aware that maintaining OSS need quite a lot of effort and dedication. Especially if the OSS is created and maintained by private persons. Therefore, I was very disappointed by one comment recently made at on one of my projects:

..but in our org we cannot just sit and wait until someone fixes the issue.

You could still bay the author to fix the issue. This would instantly address the point made by my former colleague mentioned above. And here we go, I realized that sometimes companies doe use OSS as it does not cost money, but also the are not willing to pay to get things fixed or to fix these issues and contribute to the project due to company policies. Been there. Seen it.

I hope there will be a mind shift towards OSS and fewer comments as the one above.


  1. Long Nguyen


    I have used Windows for almost my whole life and used to be that computer kid in school who would install softwares like games or operating system for his peer. Every piece of software in the period was pirated without an exception, not just because I lacked of money or I have anything against those companies.

    After switching to OSS I found myself spending regularly money into projects I find awesome (Linux Mint, Python programming language, etc.). To know that each of my spent cent could make a difference (which is probably not the case with big enterprise like Microsoft) is a huge motivation.

    • andreas


      Some years ago the prices for retail products was way to much. I now pay for several services such as Office 365, Todoist, Snagit, the Nounce Project and so on being well aware that the devs need to get paid. It also proces today are much more moderate than several years ago, where everybody wanted several hundred money units for a piece of software.

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