Software development today is infused with open source on mostly every level.
From your operating system, to the icons you use, open source is better than ever, keeps growing and enables more and more developers to get involved with creating something for the whole ecosystem and sometimes the whole world.
Open Source today is also a marketing tool for many companies. It's used to attract developers who normally wouldn't pay attention to your service, but since it's open source, can now not just see the source, but also help contribute new features and fixes.
That's great and all, but what does it mean when open source developers rely on closed source platforms for doing their development?
GitHub is a good example of this. GitHub is seen as the bastion of open source, where developers can collaborate and since today, even get paid to work on open source.
But long-term, I'm not sure if using GitHub as a bastion of open source, is a good idea or not.
We all want the same thing. Tools and services we can use to make our lives as developers better. But as everyone on this planet, we sometimes rush to get a short-term benefits over a long-term ones, even though working on long-term solutions is better.
The alignment between the open source ecosystem and companies who develop tools for open source, are not always as well aligned as we should demand them to be. We mostly solved this already with tools of the trade, but services are harder to make open and seems to have been left behind in favour of letting for-profit companies handle it. A recent example is the Apache Foundation dropping their own Git hosting to use GitHub instead.
But a for-profit company doesn't always have the users interest at heart. If they can improve profits while loosing just a small percent of the user-base, it might make sense for them to do it. And I don't blame them, it's a for-profit company, they have to act that way.
The services we sometimes rely on, hosting for git, our shared packages and alike, are all core infrastructure projects that when they don't operate in our favour or work how we want them to, they make our work harder to perform.
And sometimes these services for open source start out great but as their VC funding starts to run out (or the parent company need more profits to survive), they start to turn their back on their users, as the incentives are not aligned in the users favour.
With the recent additions of the GitHub Package Registry and "Sponsors", I ask all developers who rely on Open Source to tread carefully through these murky waters.
The issues of open source funding and infrastructure, are extremely important. Way too important for for-profit companies to own it. And the more power we give the companies, the less power we have to actually create open source infrastructure that people can use.